Thursday, 14 December 2017

Try doing the dishes to enhance your life

I REALLY love washing up!  After many years of finding it a chore, that realisation, indeed revelation, has come as a surprise.

However, looking back, the love has always been there, perhaps not in the action itself but more in the circumstances provided by it.

My mother hated it, very understandably with all she had to do as a farmer’s wife,  so it was something I could do occasionally to help.

Later it became an activity which my grandmother and I did together, where we found such fun and laughter and from where I gathered her profound wit and wisdom. 

The decision was made in early married life that we would not have a mechanical dishwasher so the task usually fell to me but over so many years gave great delight. 

Being someone who likes silence it would provide, and still provides, a time of quiet reflection, especially as I have been fortunate to always have an interesting view from the kitchen sink. 

Other times there would be wonderful conversations with family, friends, dinner or party guests as we all shared in “doing the dishes” and, of course, throwing bubbles while washing up with the children and now with the grandchildren.

There is also a certain satisfaction that comes with getting things clean and having a job well done. 

In that respect, I am definitely “a Martha”, but it’s so wonderful to discover that it’s perfectly possible to be “a Mary” at the same time because God is always to be found in the ordinary, everyday things if we just keep watching and listening. 

At this time of year it’s customary in the Church to focus on the “Kingdom of Heaven”, and what that might mean.

To discover that it isn’t a place but a state of being where, for us all, it’s about living in the here and now, being who, and where, we are and then going about our normal, everyday things to the best of our ability. 

That the “Kingdom” is also still in formation and that we are all, each and every one of us, part of that formation already by simply being us.

Transformation happens when we can look on all the seemingly mundane tasks from a different perspective — maybe ask these questions: Why am I doing this? What are the good points about it? Is it possible to like this, even just a little? Does this help anyone else? Can I share it? Can I do this with more attentiveness, kindness or love? 

The list is endless here, just like the tasks, but simply turning our attention can somehow be life-enhancing and invigorating.

Who knows how looking again at things we consider chores could bring about changes in us, our families, friends, communities or maybe even the world?

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