I know that I have said that I revel in the daily, in those tasks that fill our days everyday over and over again and are never done. They are a basic piece of what makes us human and in the doing of those tasks we face our humanity and our needs in ways that other, more seemingly noble tasks can insulate us from. God meets us there and reveals something of himself and his connection to us in the daily. Life is lived in the daily.
That said, lately I have had a hard time with the dishes.
I find myself facing a sink load of dishes and it depresses me. My back is turned to all things good and lively and cheerful and full of laughter. I feel trapped. I feel unintelligent. I feel lost. And as I sink my hands into the hot water I feel my spirit sink lower and lower and lower.
It is a task that I have a hard time seeing to completion. Something (a poopy diaper, a crying kid, any one of a multitude of more pressing, urgent mothering tasks) always keeps me from actually finishing the dishes. I rarely have that sense of satisfation of seeing a clean counter, a clean table, order in the kitchen. It doesn't help that our kitchen is so small and I can reach all of it without taking a step. It doesn't help that I end up spending so much time in that small space preparing food for my family and cleaning up, or that that small space feels so cut off from the rest of the house and the outdoors where the girls like to spend their time playing. I try to keep up and do the dishes after each meal when they are easy to do and do not feel overwhelming yet, but with three little ones it is impossible to always get the dishes done immediately. And if even one meal has gone by and I haven't gotten the dishes done then our kitchen is small enough that the task can already look overwhelming to me. It doesn't help, either, that the times that I am trying to get the dishes done also happen to be the times that are the low points in my day. But for whatever reason, the dishes have been giving me a lot of grief lately in this specific time in this specific season of my life.
You can imagine, then, the gift it was that Mitch gave me yesterday by spending quite a long time at the kitchen sink on his day off to get all the dishes done. He even put them all away, wiped all the counters off, and then put a vase of fresh flowers on the sparkling table.
Thank you, Mitch.