Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Praying to the porcelain god

I had a religious experience yesterday. Well, religious in that "pause to meditate on the moment, Zen-ish" sort of way. As you know from reading my posts last week, I have been in a funk of late. One sad side of effect of a funk for me is letting housework slide. This was especially true in the kitchen. Dirty dishes as far as the eye could see. Well, yesterday I surfaced from my funk with renewed vim and vigor. It was time to tackle the mess, within and without. The kitchen was first on the list.

The dishwasher was loaded and yet there were plenty of dishes left to be cleaned. Now normally, I would leave those dishes in the sink until the dishwasher is done; after all, that's its job, not mine. But yesterday I couldn't stand to leave them sitting around. So I did the rare thing and filled up the sink with scalding water to handwash them.

I stood at my big farm sink, staring out my window at the large maple in the backyard, wet and soggy leaves piled at the trunk. My hands dipped from the lavender and lemon dishwater, hot enough to turn my fingers red, to cool water for the rinse. Hot and cold, hot and cold. It could have been fifty years ago as I washed those dishes, the timeless act repeated by so many; the simple act of scrubbing away the left-over bits of yesterday's dishes.

I finished the last dish, disappointed that there weren't more to wash, to rhythmically transform from dirty to clean. I drained out the dirty water and then scrubbed down the sink. The last dregs of the funk seemed to flow down the drain with the water. I felt better than I had in days.

I'm still going to use my dishwasher but it was nice to remember the restorative power of clean. For a few minutes, it was prayerful.

6 comments:

Buck said...

I love this post!
When my brother and I were young, we were in charge of washing the dishes after dinner. It usually ended up in an argument over who-did-what, spraying each other with water.

more cowbell said...

wow, you made that almost sound good. When you actually don't have a dishwasher though, the bloom is that rose real quick, ha!

more cowbell said...

or OFF that rose, rather. oops.

Auld Hat said...

I have never had a religious experience over dishes. Or bed making. Or toilet scrubbing. I do, on occasion, find transcendental bliss while vacuuming and ironing.
Really great post!

rosemary said...

Housework is my talking to myself time, problem solving time, argument time...all in my head of course. Housework keeps me sane and it is my way of earning my place on earth that day. When Steve is gone I don't use the dishwasher. I hand wash my dishes. It is a nice time. It does, however, crack my skin horrible. I have always thought of the dishwasher as my hands in hotter water.

Lorraine said...

I totally, thoroughly and completely understand your religious experience.