Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Kitchen Prayer

Lord of all pots and pans and things
Since I've not time to be a saint by doing lovely things
Or sitting late with thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light
Or storming heaven's gates
Make me a saint by getting meals
And filling all the plates.

Although I must have Martha's hands
I have a Mary mind
And when I black the boots and shoes
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth
What time I mop the floor
Accept this meditation Lord
I haven't time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love
And light it with Thy peace
Forgive me all my worrying
And make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food
In room or by the sea
Accept this service that I do
I do it unto Thee. 

I pray this every time I wash the dishes.  It is attributed to Brother Lawrence, a favorite of finding holiness in the everyday.  Hence why it is taped up over the kitchen sink.  But that is also exactly what is so difficult about it. 

I am deep in the trenches of a very Martha season of life.  Pots and pans and things are just the tip of the iceberg.  Constant picking up, sweeping up, cooking up, washing up, all to start over again.  It is perpetual, thankless, and tiring and that makes it frustrating.  I get to the bit about loving to give men food and my bitter inner Martha comes out - yeah, He gave the food, but who did the cooking and the washing up, hmm?  Yeah, Mary choose the better part and IT'S JUST NOT FAIR! 

Lovely, huh?

But the fact remains that it's all gotta be done.  It makes me chuckle to think of the Bill Cosby routine on Noah building the ark: "Have you seen that mess down there?  Who's gonna clean that up?"  Because someone always has to do the dirty work.  And for now that someone is mostly me.  I figure it's at least another couple years before I can really put the boys to work expect consistent help from the boys.  Not that I'm not teaching what I can - like that Bigger is getting really good at clearing his place after meals... most of the time.  But they wont really be up to truly useful helping till about school-age I'm guessing.

This post has actually taken me several days to write.  Between having the time and the computer acting up it hasn't been easy to work on it.  But that is good - it has given me plenty of time to think and of course to pray  :)  And I've gotten some answers to my prayers.  (Sadly, not a dishwasher or a cleaning service.) 

First, I was reading the readings for this Sunday and the Gospel really jumped out at me.  "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Mt 11:28-30)  Ok, ok, I'm listening, Lord.  It's the old "offer it up," I can try.  I've never been good at that but I'll try.

Then today another mom at playgroup was telling us about a friend of a friend.  They had taken their little girl in to the doctor and instead of getting the diagnosis of an ear infection or two that they had been expecting they were told that their beautiful 3 year old has 3 months to live.  She has an untreatable brain tumor.  Talk about not fair. 

Well, if my cross to carry is washing the dishes then I'll do my best to be cheerful and prayerful while I do it.  I feel a little like Scrooge saying it like that.  (And am seriously hoping for no visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future.)  But there's nothing like a good dose of perspective which is apparently what I needed for my attitude adjustment.  So I'll be changing the way I say the Kitchen Prayer now, keeping in mind not what I would rather be doing but that this is my season and that it is just a season. 

And if you could say a prayer for that little one and her family, I'm sure they need it right now. 

1 comment:

embracingitall said...

It's funny how when we feel we have a load to bear, we hear of someone else who's load is insurmountable. I hope you can see your way through the dishes and my heart goes out to that sweet little girl and her family. I'm glad I read this today, as I have had 'one of those days', but after reading this, my day wasn't so bad. I have three healthy children tucked up in bed and I have found my mum's stash of treats. My life is good. Thanks for the reminder. Jacinta