Lent: Finding Beauty in Washing Dishes

I remember reading about Brother Lawrence in seminary. His claims to find sacredness in washing dishes seemed a bit too spiritual for me if I’m being honest. Where is God in the mess of washing too much ketchup from plates and figuring out what kind of scrubber will actually remove the old oatmeal from a bowl.

Last week, we moved homes. Although it was only 9 miles down the road, there were still boxes to pack and then to unpack. After we found our pots and pans and plates and ate our first meal in our new home, I found myself at the sink trying to figure out which way was hot and cold water. As the warm water submerged my hands, I felt my shoulders relax with a deep sigh. This routine, washing dishes, was the scared ordinary I had been craving in the midst of all the change.

Suddenly, twelve years after reading Brother Lawrence’s claims that it is in our ordinary work that we find the beauty of the Divine. Indeed, I found my posture changing. I found my mind being grateful for the warm running water, a luxury to millions of people around the world. I found my heart being grateful that these dishes given to us to celebrate our marriage and our family had not broken, but made it from one home to another. I found my soul being grateful for the new baby plate that was a now a part of the dish stack evidence of a healthy, growing six month old ready to try solids.

Yes, there is indeed beauty in washing dishes. Sometimes it just takes unpacking to find God hiding there in the warm water and bubbles.