“Fulfillment derives not from lofty achievements, but from ordinary feats.
It arrives not once in a lifetime, but every moment of the livelong day.”
~ Karen Maezen Miller, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life
Sometime in my mid-twenties, I had a shocking realization: I was going to have to wash dishes for the rest of my life. It should be noted that washing the dishes is one of my least favorite things to do, with doing laundry and cleaning the toilets running close behind. I was living by myself for the first time so I didn’t have any roommates to worry about. It was just me and my mess. I had been doing dishes for years, but the thought of the never-ending nature of them had never occurred to me. Until now. What a bummer.
Fast-forward a decade and I still stare down the dishes like they are my arch enemies. Maybe if I don’t look at them, they’ll go away. Maybe if I don’t go in the kitchen, they’ll disappear. But as soon as they are clean, they collect again, one by one, reminding me that avoiding them will just lead to the inevitable: a pile of dishes. A pile of stress.
Recently, I was washing the dishes in the early evening (probably grumbling or wishing I was on the couch) when I looked up and saw the light. It was pouring in through the window above the sink and blessing the walls of my kitchen with golden rays. My eyes danced as I followed the light to the wall behind me. And that’s when it hit me:
There is beauty to be found – even when I’m washing the dishes.
I’m glad I came to my senses and opened my eyes. I may never make peace with having to wash the dishes for the rest of my life, but I can make peace with washing the dishes today.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Join me in this daily practice of capturing the beauty in the mundane. My photography e-course, The Slice of Life Project starts September 22 and runs for six weeks. Early-bird pricing ends TONIGHT! Registration and class details here.