Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Life, Standing Next to the Dishwasher

It’s the title of the book I’m writing in my head 24/7.  I’d probably have finished it by now, if, well, if I just wasn’t tethered to the dishwasher.  Seems not so much has changed since Erma’s day; with all our advances, we still spend plenty of time in the kitchen.  (Erma Bombeck that is.  She’s my hero… finding humor and camaraderie in her domestic servitude.)

I spend a lot of time here by my dishwasher, fielding long division questions, scanning recipes, wiping counters, and loading and unloading the blasted thing day and day out.  (Sorry, foremothers, because I know you would have killed for an electronic dishwasher to do the scrubbing for you. I apologize for complaining!)  The kitchen carnage left behind from 3 kids and a husband who loves to cook (again, I should be roasted for complaining) is relentless, I tell you.

For a very, very long time I’ve filed my relationship with the dishwasher under, “drudgery.”  I’d rather do about 10 million other things.  But every Princess who weds her dashing Prince discovers she’s still destined for Cinderella’s life after she reaches her brand new castle, full of responsibilities.  Like cleaning the royal “thrones.” 

I truly want to be grateful for my blessings… I mean, all this cleaning proves my life is an abundant one.  Still, dealing with the dishwasher is just plain mind numbing.   And even though I’m delegating dishwasher time to my kids these days, it will be years before they achieve real proficiency.  Years, I tell you.  And so even as their labor provides some emancipation, I’ve got work to do, teaching the fine art of ensuring oatmeal crust is scraped before loading.

I admire the Quakers for believing that every mundane task is worthy of offering thanks to God.  That in doing so, they recognize their relative insignificance to the broader picture.  Hmmm… how to feel grateful about my time standing next to the dishwasher?  I know there’s something I can learn from finding significance in the daily round…

Oh, I know! 

Years ago I placed a group picture of my closest girlfriends just above my sink.  I look at that picture every single day, and am reminded of just how blessed I am for the gift of unfailing friendship.  I know they, too, stand at their dishwashers day in and day out, serving their families, and serving God in the process.  Looking at that picture reminds me that I am just one in a long line of women who’ve underwritten the fabric of our society for centuries.  And I feel satisfied about this work.  And it is without a doubt, work.

How’s that?

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  I may as well learn to take pleasure in the contribution it makes to the Kingdom, and to my family.  Now if they’d just learn to scrape that oatmeal first…. 


  1. Oh I can SOO relate to this!! Except I'm the one who cooks and my complain would be standing next to the wash maching/dryer. :)
    I love your blog and you!!!

  2. Everything we do is undone and waiting to be redone the next day - sigh. Great entry.

  3. I do the same thing! The picture thing, that is. Learned it subliminally from my Momma. Except my photos are of my boys. Didn't realize how much I needed those photos to help me get through the daily tasks til now. :-)

  4. This is something every mother (well, maybe not those with a live in housekeeper) can relate to. I feel the same about the laundry because I truly cannot say it is ever "done." The very clothes we are wearing are getting dirty as I type this.

  5. Love it!! And it's so true about laundry and dishes and mail and all of the "stuff" left laying about as soon as we feel we've accomplished a clean house an hour later we are at it again. Thanks Diane you are FABULOUS!!

  6. I just re-read this blog and I absolutely love you and your beautiful mind!!! Looking forward to reading more Diane! ;-)