Grace and peace to you and through you
I recently visited Holden Village – a retreat center above Lake Chelan in Washington State, USA. While there, it is required of all teaching staff to do “Dish Team” in other words, “washing up”. There are over 400 people in the village so let me put it bluntly, there is a hang of a lot of washing up to do!
While on Dish Team the following 10 life lessons / activist lessons / discipleship lessons (take your pick) came to me … in relation to cleaning up the world we live in:
- Show up. Arrive. Say: “Here I am, use me.”
- Self-care. (I arrived for dish team wearing slip-slops and I was sent to put on “closed shoes”. This meant a walk uphill to my room! I did as I was told while thinking that it was really unnecessary because I have never dropped a plate or pot on my foot in my life. Later I was relieved for the closed shoes that kept my feet dry from the constant splashing off my plastic apron. Taking self-care seriously sustains one over the long-haul. It is not just the dropping of the “plate” that we need to watch out for, but the constant little drips that can ultimately drench and discourage us.)
- Take instructions: Listen and learn. There are always people around with more experience than oneself.
- It seems overwhelming … just start.
- It seems never-ending … just stop. Yes, knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when to start. (In this regard it is helpful to remember we are not the only ones responsible for the washing up. People have gone before us and people will come after us. Be thankful for both. The task will always be bigger than any individual.)
- There is no secret “quick and easy” cleaning method. Just scrape and scrub – especially when it comes to the peanut butter dish! It is as easy as hard work.
- Say sorry quickly. Especially when we end up splashing our colleagues. Receive forgiveness equally quickly.
- Cleaning agents themselves need cleaning. Water eventually gets dirty and must be replaced.
- Our own glove-covered hands may also need cleaning. Ask someone to help you before you stain everything you touch. (I foolishly scraped the butter dish with my gloved hand and thereafter smeared butter on everything I handled. I needed to clean my own hands before continuing. And for this, I needed someone to assist me.)
- When out of the kitchen, live in gratitude for those in the kitchen. The cleaning acts of countless anonymous people are what keep the village going. We are all literally dependent on people we may never know.
And next mealtime may we give thanks not only for the food on our plate but the plate itself that is clean, and the person who cleaned it, and the water that was used, etc., etc. Resulting in endless gratitude.