He came bounding toward me with the enthusiasm of a puppy, “Thank you for being here – which carwash would you like?!” With the look of a child on Christmas morning he stared at me with great anticipation. “I’ll take the basic, please,” I responded. “Excellent choice!” He exclaimed while pointing at a large sign with all the directions. Seconds later, hose wand in hand, he began to spray my car with laser focused attention. Shortly thereafter, as I exited the carwash, smile on my face, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if all of us, regardless of the task, brought that level of enthusiasm and intention.”

“The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were on my knees.” Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

These words of simple but profound wisdom by Brother Lawrence set the scaffolding of mind, body and soul for how we are invited to approach every task before us. It is said that he relished the most menial of tasks, most specifically washing dishes. Lawrence viewed such chores as a holy opportunity to engage in the presence of God.

This summer I have spent a lot of time washing dishes at a church camp. The pass-through window of the ‘dish pit’ has provided me with an incredible window, one which I have looked through in both directions. Some who bring their dishes express gratitude for my service, some look upon me with pity for having to engage in such a lowly, messy job. And when I peer into the dish pit I see an opportunity to serve at the highest level of my capacity. Regardless of which way I am looking, each day I intentionally remind myself of Brother Lawrence and the invitation to seek the Holy in all things. There are two prayers for me that manifest Brother Lawrence’s approach to the work set before him, and encapsulate for me the invitation to find the Holy in all that we do:

“We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.” The General Thanksgiving, Book of Common Prayer

“For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.” The Litany for Thanksgiving, Book of Common Prayer

3 thoughts on “Dish-Pit”

  1. I love that dish pit. Such great memories. Music roaring, dishes so high you can barely see out. Buckle up and get ‘er done. It was always a great time to think and pray. You also see how others treat others….a good plate scrape with a smile and thank you or just tossed on the huge pile.

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