In a recent post on the subject of time, I mentioned that I don’t like dusting or vacuuming, and I explained why. Lest readers should think that I have an aversion to all housework, let me say that there are at least two duties which I don’t call chores: some people find it unbelievable that I actually enjoy doing laundry (especially when I can use my two pulley lines without their loads being attacked by that nuisance of a plum tree, planted by someone in the past who obviously wasn’t thinking about the fact that living things tend to grow!); and even more incredible to many people is my insistence that I enjoy washing dishes (I had admitted more than once that if I had to give up one household appliance, it would be the dishwasher, and now that mine has been broken for nearly a year, I honestly don’t miss it). Why do I enjoy what is drudgery for others? I think it’s because when I finish, I can see what I’ve done (which isn’t always the case with dusting and vacuuming): nothing in the laundry basket, everything (yes, even our underwear) neatly folded and put away (I have a friend who teases me about being so fastidious); and though I usually let the dishes air dry and return to them later, in the meantime I appreciate a clean table, counter and stove. I think doing laundry and dishes appeals to the more orderly side of me, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment – maybe even hope of one day being a Proverbs 31 woman!
I’ve enjoyed doing laundry since I started doing my own when I lived on campus, but enjoying doing dishes has been a long process. I started off, as many do, about three years of age, standing on my little chair, proud as punch to be a helper. That feeling wore off rather quickly, when helping became a twice-a-day routine; later, there was often a wrestling match between my sister and me to see who would wash or dry, and though she was five years younger than I, she was by that time stronger, so guess who never got to choose! We do grow up, and for years I did dishes just because they needed to be done, and because my conscience and upbringing wouldn’t let me close my eyes on a messy kitchen.
Things have changed. Between God and my kitchen window, my perspective on doing dishes has totally changed. I love what I see as I work at the sink: green mountains, lacey white in winter, the neighbour’s red maples in summer, tall pines where birds nest and find shelter, roofs with frost on them in the spring and fall that tell me when to plant or harvest, our lilac and raspberry bushes, my husband’s trademarks – the satellite dish, the whirligig on top of the garage and the sturdy fence (each picket wearing a fluffy white toque after a snowfall): I see in each and all of these the munificence, the lavish generosity of my Creator. I hear His still small voice in the fog when it shrouds the tallest mountain: “You can’t see the mountain, Nyla, so how do you know it’s there?” He doesn’t need to say more: I know the mountain is there because I’ve seen it before, and I know He is with me because I’ve experienced Him before. Blessed assurance that lifts the fog, removes the shroud, sets my spirit free.
When God changes us, the results are noticeable and enduring. He has used my kitchen window to so radically change my attitude toward doing dishes that sometimes, when my thoughts are crowded and shrouded by stress (anxiety, fear, etc.), I find myself going to the kitchen and checking for dishes to wash! If He can produce such a change in my approach to a task as menial as washing dishes – a change I didn’t even know I needed or had ever asked for – what change would He produce if I asked for one, and what change that I’m not even aware of might He be producing in me right now?
Creator and Sustainer of of all that is good, we welcome the changes You birth in our lives. Window of Hope, we look up and out with expectancy.