dishwashing

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“I am free to choose. I can leave my mistakes, my disappointments, my bad attitudes to yesterday. I can rewrite myself as a person of hope. I can get up each morning with an attitude of appreciation and turn every event into an occasion of thankfulness. If my life is too complicated, I have the power to make simpler choices. God has tucked me in with His promise. I wake to a new day; my blackboard is clean; my mistakes have dissipated into the wind.”

Editors, Guideposts (2012-10-01). Daily Guideposts 2013 (Kindle Locations 423-427). Guideposts Books. Kindle Edition.

What a pleasure to greet a new day with this good news! I can start anew today, this moment. Starting now, this moment, the only moment I really have, I can make choices that  reflect God’s love for me and all of creation. I can cultivate what Alcoholics Anonymous calls an “attitude of gratitude” and be thankful and “present” in each gifted moment I am given.

And in those other moments when I am not up somewhere floating on a “spiritual high” or “spiritual cloud” I can still make a choice to live every moment to the best of my ability with the help of Creator. When I am at the university trying to get the high tech equipment to work right, when I am privileged to share knowledge with students and see their minds engage with the topic being discussed, when I am racing to eat lunch in one of two ten minute breaks during the three hour class, when I am driving to and from the university, when I am outside walking to my car enjoying the cool fall air, when I am engaged in centering prayer at church this evening, when I am washing dishes later at home……the list could go on and on describing the “routine of my day.”  What saves it from being a boring list and perhaps a stressful day is the attitude of the one experiencing it. If I am truly present in each of those moments I will not miss the chance to observe, receive and give God’s love.

Although I accept the need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, I still question exactly how I am supposed to do it. Do I make a list of everything I am thankful for? Do I consciously thank God for something each and every time I walk through a doorway? And, really, how can one “observe, receive and give God’s love “when doing something as mundane as washing dishes?

As an illustration of a suggested way to live an attitude of gratitude, here is  a description of the “perfect mind set” I wish I could carry with me every time I wash dishes rather than putting off and dreading another encounter with a sink full of dirty dishes:

  • First, I  run the water until it gets hot, being grateful that I have water and that it “becomes hot.”
  • Then, submersing my arthritic hands in the hot water, I am grateful for the pain relief provided by the hot water.
  •  Next, I can enjoy the rhythm of  “cleaning, rinsing, and placing dishes  in the dishwasher” as I work.
  • While I am caught up in the warm, soothing repeated motions, I can release a prayer to God asking him to help a friend, to help the world find and remain in peace, thanking Him for the gift of today——or simply by looking out my kitchen window and thanking him for the blue sky, green grass, playing squirrels, and singing birds I can see from my kitchen window. My prayers are not fancy things. Hopefully, they are simple, fleeting pleasant and grateful thoughts.

Funny thing about living this way—-grateful and present in the moment—-I feel much less stress and much more serenity. So, today I am grateful I have a choice between serenity and peace or worry, stress, and anxiety. Think I’ll opt for serenity and peace.

How do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude into your daily routine? Please comment and share your thoughts. May God bless and keep you.

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