on monotony and washing the dishes.

Sorry about the noise, I say. Just looking for the pizza cutter.

I dig. I dig, with such noise, through the sink full of dirty dishes, full of spoons and knives and plates and utensils. And forks! I feel like my life is engulfed in forks. Such is the curse of someone who loves to cook and hates to clean.

This whole cleaning problem got amplified when we moved into our current apartment, with its almost never effective dishwasher. Everything must be washed by hand. Suffice it to say things are messy far more often than they are clean. And as the dishes pile up . . . I have to ask myself: what is it about washing dishes by hand that is oh so agonizing?

I can create quite the list: Time-consuming. Makes my fingers look like raisins. Splashes everywhere.

But monotony. That’s it. That’s the real killer.

I’m naturally drawn towards sparkle and magic and big-fun-awesome. I like excitement and new things and challenging things and time in the spotlight. (Not surprised at all, are you?) So when faced with monotony, I absolutely cringe. I cry. This monotony isn’t me, I say. This isn’t living out my dream, this isn’t making things happen, this isn’t making a splash. Within monotony, I feel stuck and can easily fall into the trap of worthlessness.

And monotony can be much bigger than dishwashing. Maybe it’s waiting. Maybe it’s a job that just is not a good fit, or even a task within a very-good-fit job. Maybe it’s a meeting or a class or the grocery checkout line. Maybe it’s just the everyday-ness of the world.

The truth in it all? We may walk through a season of monotony. But we, at our cores, are anything but monotonous.

God, in His grace, has built a world where there is meaning in everything. Meaning in every moment. And so, intrinsically, there is value in monotony.

Life, sometimes, even requires it.

So I repeat to myself, until a bit of conviction begins to brew: There is purpose in montony. There is meaning within boring.

Bigger still, there can be beauty in the boring. We just need to actively seek it.

I’ve had a bit of a writing dry spell recently. I’ve sat in front of the computer, fingers poised over the keys. Nothing. I’ve sat in front of a journal, finger grasping a pen. Nothing. (Nothing that feels inspiration-driven, anyway.)

But there is something very big that I have been missing. It is okay if life is not all glamor, all the time. It’s okay if we sometimes just have to do the dishes. Monotony shouldn’t be scary.

Because really, if I don’t do the dishes, I can’t cook.

Linking up today with WriteItGirl and Solo Dei Gloria.

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9 thoughts on “on monotony and washing the dishes.

  1. Dear Sara, I absolutely needed to hear this today. I struggle with this much more than I ever want to admit. I have a pile of dishes in the sink right now I need to attend to. It is evening now, here, and I have looked for the “fun-awesome” things to do today and tried to put off the laundry folding, the bed making, the pile organizing, the email addressing . . . But each of these things can be used for His glory, if I choose to see it, if I choose to see Him. Jesus washed His disciples feet. That was the kind of leader He was. And I write this here to remember that. . . Thank you, Sarah. Your writing gives me life and inspires me. Gratefully, Jennifer

  2. Oh, I hate the dishes. I really do. I think it’s not only the monotony, but the lack of progress. I am a “check it off my list” gal. But dishes have to be done every day. I do them, and 5 minutes later, there are more in the sink. There is no finish line to look forward to.

    But you’re right, there is beauty that, if we look. Lessons of obedience and follow-through. Faithfulness in the little things. Doing all things, even the mundane, for the glory and love of the One who made me, and considered nothing beneath Himself.

  3. Hello, soul sister! I really enjoy cooking and so much dislike the cleaning! I would love to have assistants who clean up behind me like chefs have. Such a sweet thought! However, I wonder if I would appreciate my cooking as much?

    When our girls were little, we started referring to all of our chores as polishing. I know it was just a word, but for me it made such a difference. To think of myself as a Tinkerbell type mom, waving my dust cloth and vacuum in place of a wand, and polishing my home into loveliness was much more of a positive impetus than imagining myself in the never ending drudgery of a scullery maid.

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