Soap Suds and Second Chances

5:06 PM

     I hate doing dishes. Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that I have not happily stuffed a dirty dish into a dishwasher for over twenty years. Dirty dishes are a strange phobia of mine. For some reason when attempting to wash all that grime away, every microbe and germ I've ever seen in a microscope or picture comes flashing into my mind and seems to scurry all over my hands. Truly, doing dishes is horrific. The last time I was in Belfast I had one episode with dishes that changed the course of my small history.

     It was raining. Again. The perfect day to stay inside the rectory for a small ministry conference. Today my seemingly flawless, best friends were going to be leading a short time of worship for this little get-together. To give you some background, my friends were gorgeous children, who grew into gorgeous teenagers. Slim, girlish, and incredibly musical, they complimented each other in every way.  I, on the other hand, having reached the unfortunately gawky age of sixteen, was a wee bit chunky, had a mouth full of metal, and homeschoolerishly long hair, with bangs that climbed a steep, ascending slope up my forehead, due to a cowlick of epic proportions. Needless to say, this was not the glam year of my life.

      On top of my physical gawkiness, (I seemed to be able to break porcelain china from a record six feet away, with one swipe of my dangling, uncontrollable limbs), I was a musical oddity. Little Orphan Annie was my hero. I could belt "Tomorrow" with the best of them. However, this was not, and never will be, any one's preferential style of worship. And this is the extended reason why I was not on the program of the day.

      Seeing that my friends were busy doing the Lord's work, I decided to be especially bountiful myself. Gracing the kitchen with my presence, (most teenagers seem to have that beautifully arrogant way of entering a room), I sat down for a cup of tea and looked about me to see what work could be done. To my horror, mounds upon mounds of the grossest, lasagna dripping dishes were piling up, while a poor, little, old lady was avidly scrubbing the living daylights out of them. Everything in me screamed, "Run! Flee! Hide! The amoebas will get you!" But as my mom likes to quote from "Perfect Strangers", "If you don't follow your conscience, Jimminy Cricket will puke in his hat." Gently shoving the little old lady aside, in a gesture that would be the envy of any martyr, I rolled up my sleeves and began to do the dishes.

   Now, as any person who has worked in a church will tell you, church dishes are very special. They have the unforeseen biological power to reproduce right before your very eyes. I worked away, chipper as can be, for, oh, let's say, twenty minutes. I turned around, satisfied with my work and was about to walk out the door, when a new load of a bazillion dishes, pots and pans of enormous size came walking my way. With a look that said, "Where do you think you're going, you selfish, American brat?", the pastor's wife used her mind powers to get me back at that sink. Mumbling something about the inventions of dishwashers and ushering in the twentieth century, I returned to my work, this time with a little less gusto. Every time I turned around, a chipper little Irish leprechaun would come in, bearing an arm full of plates. I soon took to snarling and barking like a junkyard dog at anyone that came near my sink.

     Three hours later, close to tears, I finished. I have never felt more sorry for myself in my life (except,  maybe, New Year's Eve of 1999, when my mom thought that Y2K was going to happen, and she made me scrub our Jacuzzi, so we could fill it with water, just in case running water became obsolete.)  Love ya, mom! ;) A more terrible attitude I have never seen or demonstrated in my life.

   I have always been ashamed of that day. I know exactly how Jesus would have acted in those circumstances and it surely wasn't the way I did. You know those silly little things that you always wish you could go back in time and change? Well, that was one of those. The other day, as I scrubbed a cup from the Wednesday Club,(the older ladies love their fine china), it suddenly dawned on me! God had given me another chance to do some dishes.

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  1. Best blog yet! Made me laugh. Ahh, the fond memories of Y2K!
    Yer ma made you do it!


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