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.