Dale’s Rules for Life – Be Thankful for Dirty Dishes

I have these rules for life. Guidelines that are like buoys to help navigate the choppy waters of life. The list occasionally grows. For instance, this rule was only added a month or so ago.

Betty and I have been going through a large remodel of our home. Phase two was opening the floor plan by removing some walls and enlarging the kitchen. This meant many weeks without a normal kitchen. During this chaos, we avoided making too many dirty dishes since the basement sink wasn’t designed for that purpose. Eventually, our kitchen was completed. A day or two later I was actually glad to see some dirty dishes in our new sink.

Now most of us probably grumble at dirty dishes since it means spending time washing them. The same could be said about dirty diapers, grass that needs mowing, cars that need servicing, homes that need repairing, grumpy co-workers or a demanding boss, weeds in our garden, or manure in the barn. None of these are pleasant or desired in and of themselves but they each show us something we should be thankful for.

Having dirty dishes means we’ve eaten which is a good thing. Dirty diapers mean we have children or are around children. The need to mow the lawn speaks of rain. Cars and homes that need attention remind us of the blessings of ownership and the services each provides. If we need to patch the roof it means we have a roof. A very good thing.  Co-workers and bosses remind us we have a job to be thankful for even if the job is less than pleasant. I think you get the picture.

So often in life we grump and complain about these kinds of things without realizing what life would be like without them.  The Bible puts it this way, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.” (Proverbs 14:4, NIV) No cows mean a clean barn, but also no benefit.

This rule is basically an attitude check. It reminds me to be thankful for the dirty dishes and the lawn that needs to be mowed instead of wishing those things away. We can daydream about having the perfect job with the perfect co-workers and totally miss being thankful for the job we do have. Think of it this way, only the living feel the pains of life and can bring order into that chaos. That’s something to be thankful for.

Be thankful for dirty dishes. Or applying the verse from Proverbs: be thankful for the manure in the barn since it means we have a cow.

Dale Heinold
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