The beauty of doing the dishes
If you need a new perspective on likely your least favorite job, you’re in the right place. Whether you’ve realized it before or not, there really can be beauty in doing the dishes. If you’re totally not convinced, read on to find out how.
Many dishes means an abundance of food.
Here in America, we’re used to eating three meals a day, and then a few snacks in-between. Our struggle is never if we’ll be able to scrape around dinner that evening, but rather it’s whether or not we can manage to cram that delicious-looking ice cream dessert into our already-stuffed bellies afterwards. As a whole, we don’t worry about how we can find enough food to eat, but rather about if we’ll be able to stick with our diets.
Do you see where this is going? There are children all over the world who never know where their next meal will come from. There are mothers and fathers struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their children. There are even kids working hard to earn money for their families because otherwise there wouldn’t be enough. And for these people, if there are dishes in the sink that night, it’s a blessing.
The next time you sigh over your big, accumulating pile of dishes, remember this: Remember that having many dishes is a blessing because it means God has provided for you an abundance of food that many others do not have.
Doing the dishes strengthens relationships.
When you are forced to put away your phone for 30 minutes or so and hang out with another person, you may be surprised at what it does for your relationship. In a world where we are sometimes enslaved by the demands of social media and technology, doing a tangible, rewarding activity like washing dishes with somebody can honestly be refreshing. Dig your hands under those suds and you never know what kind of deep conversation you can uncover. Take the opportunity to ask someone (your spouse, your child, etc) about their day, at a time when they have more than three seconds to answer. Give them a chance to give a heartfelt and honest answer, and be an active listener for them by asking more questions and offering encouragement. These are the moments that make a relationship beautiful.
If you are doing dishes by yourself, you can strengthen your relationship with yourself. It’s a great time to meditate on your life or think things through that maybe seem complicated or difficult. It’s likely that most of your other time is constantly demanding of your time and energy, so use the time you do dishes as ‘you-time’. Look at washing the dishes as an opportunity to unwind, to do something mindless, to think about things you normally don’t have time to think about during the day.
Doing the dishes cultivates satisfaction.
Sometimes life can be so demanding and distractions so abundant, despite all the modern technology and conveniences that we have. It can be so easy to get caught up in a stream of YouTube videos, only to realize an hour later that you’ve accomplished nothing. How easy it is to turn a two-minute Instagram or Facebook scroll into a half hour stalking session. Washing the dishes is about as old-fashioned as it gets, and it’s a refreshing time of productivity and tangibility. It may not be popular or look too welcoming, but man oh man is it a satisfying feeling to get all the dishes washed and dried and put back in their place.
Doing the dishes even has a spiritual connotation.
Doing the dishes even has a spiritual take-away, if you think about it. God creates us after His own image: beautiful, spotless, and perfect from the start. But we are still born sinners; just as new dishes are ‘born’ to be used and dirtied. God takes us, just worn & dirtied dishes, and cleans us off and makes us like-new again. He is patient and careful while working on us, just as we have to be patient with those old stains on a plate and be careful lest one breaks. God carefully cleans us off and puts us back in our place, all while doing so in love. It’s good to remember the love God has for us and to apply it to everything we do; whether it’s something as simple as washing dishes with a cheerful heart or as ambitious as spreading the Good News in a faraway country. Because God is lovingly providing and caring for us, we should be joyful and diligent in the tasks He has given us.
Dishes at the Homestead
Here at the Homestead, we use washing dishes as a way to promote teamwork. While we don’t wash our dishes by hand, we definitely still have a very manual process, as three or four people are needed for things to flow smoothly. One person collects the dishes from the tables, one person rinses the dishes and runs them through the dishwasher, another person dries them, and another person puts them away back where they came from. If you can imagine, dishes are pretty constant around here but we’ve found that keeping on top of it together helps strengthen us as a team!
Hopefully after reading this, it is easier for you to see the blessing and the beauty in such a mundane task as doing the dishes. Hopefully it changes your attitude towards the task and in so doing, affects your life and those around you for the better.