Lessons from the Land without Dishwashers: #4

[An introduction to this blog series is here. Lesson #1 is here, #2 is here, and #3 was posted yesterday.]

This lesson is something I know that anyone who is responsible for household chores has experienced. In fact, it’s so obvious that I wonder if it’s even worth mentioning.

#4) The work of community often goes unnoticed.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don’t really do the dishes very often. So when I do plunge in and make a dent in the pile, or when I empty the drying rack during the day, I get a bit discouraged when J comes home from work and there is already a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, hiding my hard work.

“I did the dishes today, hon!” I proudly announce on those occasions, and then I glance around sheepishly. “Really, I did. Honest.”

I want credit. Who doesn’t? I want to show that I did something to contribute to our little community, but most days I have no proof. With dishes, there is almost never any proof!

That’s the way it is with work in community.

It’s easy to blame other people for not doing their part, trust me. It’s easy to say, “That’s not my dish, I swear it!” until you’re the only one who’s been home for the last eight hours.

True story: I didn’t realize what a mess I was capable of making until one of our housemates moved out last year. Apparently I’d been subconciously blaming him for lots of things I was in fact responsible for!

Never a healthy recipe for community.

So now I’m trying to pay attention to everyone’s contribution and, especially, to appreciate the work that we all put into making community work.

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One comment on “Lessons from the Land without Dishwashers: #4

  1. Darla says:

    I really identified with this series of blogs. I have a dishwasher. It’s a constant cycle of fill, wash & empty—fill, wash, & empty, etc. These mundane, everyday tasks (and I include daily showering/bathing) can become tiresome. I really identified with wanting credit for doing them and how can I delegate when I know best how to do them! I had a book years ago (loaned out and never returned) that I cannot remember the exact title of, but the focus was finding the spiritual in the everyday tasks. It helped some! Better, go—need to empty and refill the dishwasher and get another spiritual fix.

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