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The HAVE TO Factor…the difference between meditative and annoying activity

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the sink from where I speak...and learn.. I hope:)

I picked yet another finger-printed and milk filmed glass from the dishwater.  For a split second, I considered ACCIDENTLY dropping it so I wouldn’t have to wash it.

I’m THAT sick of doing dishes. 

I bit the bullet, I washed the glass.. (and it’s family of other dirty dishes) and finished cleaning up the kitchen.  “What is wrong with me?”  I wondered, as I caught my reflection in the window over the sink.  “It’s dishes.. they need to be washed… just do it and stop whining about it…Some people don’t have food and you’re pouting about a dishwasher” 

Unfortunately, I argued with my logic.  (Shut up, I’m not crazy, I do that, don’t YOU?) “But it’s BORING and a WASTE of my TIME!”  I countered.  “Make it a spiritual practice… an act of service and love for your family…”  I tried hard, to convince myself.

“I HATE IT.  It’s BORING!” Screamed the brat who lives in my soul. “Enjoy the chance to meditate.. the quiet.. the repetitive and redemptive act of cleaning… “  Said either God- or some part of me that desires Him…

By the time the argument was over, the sink was cleaned and dishes were washed.  The only thing left was the battle in my heart. I couldn’t let it go. I knew that before I could reach the light switch.. some member of this family of five would have dirtied another dish, kick starting the battle all over again.

I grabbed paperplates and plastic cups and put them on the counter. Clearly I needed a dishwashing break before I totally lost my mind. (Sanity being saved, trumps going green.) I went to that perfect corner on the couch.  The one that’s so old it’s dented in the shape of my backside.  I picked up my knitting.  I knit. 

I kept knitting.  One stitch after another.  Then it hit me… honestly?  Part of what I like about knitting is the quiet repetitive-ness of it.  The chance to think.. the opportunity to be (almost) still.  The creative process of producing something useful. I also love spinning for the same reasons….

But  DISHWASHING?  I HATE IT for THE SAME REASONS.  It didn’t make sense.  I knit faster… hoping some mysterious answer to this problem would be found in the completed project…then it hit me.

Whats’ the difference?  I don’t HAVE to knit.  I have a choice.  I also don’t HAVE to spin. I don’t HAVE to sit on the beach and listen to the music of the waves that are just as repetitive and meditative…I don’t HAVE to rock a baby or flip through a magazine savoring pictures without ingesting words…but I do.  Because, I want to.

Maybe that’s the ony difference between meditative activities and annoying ones.. maybe it’s all about the HAVE TO factor.  I thought about it some more… by that time I had another sink of dishes to do.  I stood in the kitchen.  The battle started up again. I stepped back. 

I suddenly realized: I didn’t HAVE to do them.  I had options. 

I could:

  1. Throw them in the trash.
  2. Break them to bits
  3. Hide them in the oven until the dishwasher repair guy finally shows up.
  4. Stick them into the dishwasher dirt and all and leave it as a fragrant surprise for the dishwasher repair guy…
  5. I could enjoy the quiet meditative redemptive quality of washing them.

I turned on the tap.  I smiled at the beautiful, curved  brushed nickel faucet my husband installed for me.  I watched the water flow.  I watched tiny bubbles form like sea foam.  I almost giggled when miniature bubbles floated into the air from the soap bottle when I plopped it back on the counter. 

I prayed for friends as I cleaned the milk filmed glasses.  I listened to hope grow in my heart as I washed plates.  I thanked God for food as I washed it from the silverware.  Before I knew it.. I was out of dishes.  I asked if anyone had any more…they didn’t.  I was done.

Yeah.. the HAVE to Factor was the difference.. so was recognizing that I have a choice.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Dear Lord- bring these thing to mind whenever I’m faced with a challenge like this– and God?  I think I got it now. so umm your  could send the repairman to fix the dishwasher now.. really… I love you Lord and am glad you love me.. the whiner and the listener– all of me… amen

2 thoughts on “The HAVE TO Factor…the difference between meditative and annoying activity

  1. Hi Tracey! (spelled just like my sister does!)

    I’m a new reader of your blog via Ravelry and I just wanted to thank you for this entry. I have such a HARD TIME getting things done in my home, mainly due to the fact that my focus is real short and hard to reign in, but I think you have given me something to “try” when faced with a task to complete. Praying through it makes such sense, doesn’t it? Gosh, right there in front of me but hidden at the same time. Good grief! Anyhow, thanks. Have a super day! Leslie

  2. Hey leslie- thnx so much for stopping by, especially for commenting! Yeah the things that make the most sense.. don’t usually JUMP to the front of my mind.. let’s just say the dishwasher has been broken for a month.. it’s taken me THAT long to get a handle on this thing…. HUGS!

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