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Heavenly Tasks

In this excerpt from Daily Guideposts 365 Spirit-Lifting Devotions for Mothers, we’re reminded of the wisdom and blessings that come from doing simple chores.

woman washing dishes
Credit: ferlistockphoto
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My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb. Psalm 49:3–4 (RSV)

Don’t get me wrong, I love dishwashers, microwave ovens and all the gadgets that make life easier, but there are times I’m nostalgic for the sweet moments during my growing-up years when Mother and I did the dishes by hand. It was an unhurried time, a time to linger. Often it was a joking, laughing time, or a time to sing lilting favorites like “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Mostly though, it was a talking time.

Aprons on, we would stand at the kitchen sink together. I washed, my hands tingling in foamy hot suds, while Mother dried. In between there was chatter, interspersed with the homilies by which Mum gently guided my attitudes and developed my values. She had a reservoir of what I came to call her “dishpan proverbs.” If a pot wasn’t washed properly, it was handed back with “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!” When I got my first job, frittered away my paychecks and was constantly short of cash, I heard, “Spend more than you earn, and you’re sinking your boat!” There was no gossiping with Mum. “Rise above it!” she’d say. “Say something nice or don’t say anything at all!”

During my dating years, littered with emotional hurts, Mum would frequently frown and clatter the cups as she stacked them. “It takes quite a bit of sorting out to find out just whom you don’t want to be with, before finding out whom you do!” she’d say. Much teary-eyed sorting out finally brought me a love, steadfast and true, that has lasted for more than 40 years.

I’ve raised my own family on Mother’s “dishpan proverbs.” Pulled from the kitchen sink, they are wisdom much remembered and passed along. In a muddle? Life twisted up? Come on in, we’ll do the dishes and sort it out. You wash, I’ll dry.

Help me to remember, Lord, that wisdom can be found even in the sharing of a simple task.

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