"Laura, Will You Do the Dishes?"

This is a loving command I hear most days from my parents, to which I more or less answer, "Yeah! I'll do them soon." (Notice how I don't include a specific time frame in my answer). ;)

Today, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. Usually, I complete this chore during the daytime. I try to rush through the formalities of stacking the bowls a certain way and putting all the mugs in the same vicinity so I can move onto my next task of the day. However, tonight I waited until nighttime to do the dishes. As I trudged up the stairs to begin my not-so-favorite activity, I made sure to put my prized Tony Bennett tape "Perfectly Frank" into the music player to set the mood.

Then, I began to put the clean dishes in the cabinet. Each fork I picked up weighed heavy with dread, but somewhere in the midst of putting the dirty bowls into the dishwasher, I started to slow down and reflect upon the day. Instead of allowing the dishes to be mildly dirty as they went into the dishwasher, I began to wash down the dishes before setting them carefully in the cleaning appliance.

I got lost in my thoughts. Deeply entrenched in perspective. I considered the convenience of the task I so usually dreaded. I started to think about my missions trip experience in Honduras in the summer of 2011 when I and the rest of our team had to wash our dishes vigorously by hand. Along with hand-washing our dishes came a string of other "inconveniences" we weren't used to such as not being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet (and having to retrieve the toilet paper if one accidentally forgot the rule) or not having easy access to clean water.

I find that so often, my mind gets wrapped up in the routine of the day that I fail to perceive the perspectives I so firmly vowed I would keep after having such a humbling experience in a place like Honduras. I have had several experiences that have made me question why I view life as I do, yet when it comes to actually adjusting my way of thought after such questionings, I seem to frequently fail.

I think God knew I needed a moment like I had tonight. He knew that in my personal agenda of pursuing and accomplishing, that I needed to stop to remember some of the experiences that have challenged my thinking and my way of life.

From now on, I think I'm going to make my "doing the dishes time" an act of reflection--a time when I think about what simple moments in life having deeply affected my soul. I thrive on reflection, and too often don't allow myself the time I need to be able to reflect.

So as I wipe the crumbs off the plates I need to wash, I will allow myself to envision the heaps of trash in the garbage dump our missions team ministered to in the countryside of Honduras. But even more than picture the endless trash at the dump, I will picture the peoples' faces that lived in such a place. With fly-covered, dirty clothes, these people lived without a clear sense of purpose; they merely aimed to gather some food to eat at their next meal.

How did this experience change me at that moment? How does it affect me now? And what will I do about how I feel?

These are the questions I will allow myself to tackle about the life moments that come to mind. For, if I allow circumstances to affect me in the moment, but don't give them the chance to change the way I think or direct the way I pray, then the moments of perspective were largely rejected by my heart.

I pray that through this time of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart, that He'll equip me to move to action with the passion stirred within me.

...just some midnight thoughts.


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