Do you like doing dishes? Or more appropriately, do you love doing dishes? If I say you don’t, I am probably right. Statistically speaking, it is my best guess. People dislike this chore so much that one article said dishwashing causes more relationship distress than any other household task. So if you utterly detest this chore, take heart, you are not alone. However, if you are one of those weird people who absolutely loves this chore, you are also not alone – there is a remnant and I am with you on this. So let us be quirky together. Personally, I would rather do dishes for 10 people every day for an entire week than to do my laundry once in 2 weeks. I hate doing laundry that much. Or rather, I enjoy doing dishes that much. But why am I obsessed with dishwashing of all chores?
Well, one of the first responses is that I find it therapeutic – and it is true. I cannot describe to you the feeling of holding a clean sponge with just the right amount of dish soap and having water at the perfect temperature of 25.193 degrees Celsius running down your hands. It is simply awesome. Multiplied by a million. So I love doing dishes because of that – it is relaxing.
We all know doing dishes can be a dirty task to say the least. There are crumbs, sauces, bones and every sort of imaginable leftovers on plates, pots, pans and even cups. A good dishwasher is one who knows to remove all this dirt before tossing the dishes into the sink to avoid clogging it. As a pro, I can confirm that this act of cleaning up before the actual washing up is vital in the dishwashing business. It follows that at the very core, dishwashing is cleaning up after people and their mess. Herein lies another reason I enjoy doing this chore – it is an opportunity to clean up after people. Not just to clean up but to serve as well. So as I scrap the bottom of pans and gather all the leftovers from the plates, my hope is that my heart will be humbled and a servanthood spirit will be cultivated within me. I wash dishes to remind myself of this.
If you wash dishes, you have probably had a situation whereby just when you thought you were done, you turn around and see an entire pile of dirty dishes waiting and smiling at you. Perhaps it is someone who simply walks in with a tower of unwashed plates just as you were about to hang your towel. What is your first reaction? How do you feel? Probably angry? Well, even for someone who loves doing dishes like me, that moment is usually a moment filled with negative emotions. And often times, these negative emotions are what we already had at the beginning of the task. The extra dishes were just the last straw we needed to let it all out.
So why do I love doing dishes? I love dishwashing because it is one of the strongest reminders I have to serve cheerfully. It is a reminder that it is one thing to start doing dishes so as to act humble but it is another thing to remain humble when extra dishes appear from nowhere. My hope is that I will serve cheerfully from beginning to end. Washing dishes is just that perfect reminder for me.
Having lived in student housing, I am no stranger to the washing tactics employed by the learned. Often times, these tactics lead to “cleaned” dishes shining with oil as though they have just been deep-fried. Being a dishwashing lover, it breaks my heart to see this. Nonetheless, herein lies another reason I love dishwashing.
Doing dishes reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10: 31. It reminds me of how in everything, I need to do it for the glory of God. So when I stand to wash those dishes, my hope is that as I do, I will have a humble heart to serve people but that I will do so diligently and with an attitude of giving God the glory in mind. It is a reminder that I do not necessarily need to do something “big” to practice 1 Corinthians 10: 31. Rather, it can be even in the simple, dirty and unwanted task of washing dishes. God can still be glorified in those areas of my life. My part is to make sure they are not oily after my job is done. So I wash dishes.
What do you do to remind yourself to serve others? What do you do to remind yourself to serve cheerfully? What do you do to remind yourself that in everything you do, you need to do it for the glory of God? Could this thing be a therapeutic thing to do at the same time? If you are looking for something, try washing dishes and enjoy it while you do.