Friday, November 27, 2015

The After-Turkey Toil

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope the day brought you warmth, laughter, and tangible reminders of the beauty in your life.

(And if not, here's a hug from my heart to yours.)

Our day was full of exquisite cuisine--special shout out to my Dude for making a grilled BBQ turkey breast that made my mother slap me!--and new memories with old friends and family. It was a miracle, a literal answer to prayer, and I was so blessed to see it happen under our roof.

But after everyone left, I was alone with the kitchen (point of fact: my Dude was taking people home; otherwise he would have been there with me.) You can imagine how it looked: slightly crumpled foil pans, half-full cups of juice, huge pots that wouldn't fit in the refrigerator, and a white kitchen floor tattooed with food and footprints.

As I formed a plan of attack, I remembered those FB posts and Instagram pics of proud chefs with their culinary creations and wondered how many people are just as excited to face the mess afterwards. I didn't recall any updates saying, "'Bout to bust these suds and steam my kitchen floor. Can't wait to get started! #cleaningboss"

Maybe someone else handled it or maybe they were too tired to post again, but I think the distinction is deeper than tidying up after the turkey and talking.

In Joyce Meyer's eye-opening series, "Attitudes of the Mind," the third and fifth CDs extol the power of a responsible attitude and a humble attitude. Her words tumbled in my mind as I faced the truth revealed by that cluttered counter and splattered stove: cleaning ain't sexy, but it's necessary. 

Yet we so often dread tackling such unsung, glamour-free parts of life. We crave credit for our triumphs but undervalue the dirty work, not realizing the reward of success is more work.

Published your book? Congratulations! Get to work promoting it and writing your next one.

Bought your first home? Attagirl! Now you get to move.

Got married? Yippee! You now have a spouse, which isa euphemism for "more work." 

Launched a business or ministry? Guess what!

I've heard that "success  precedes work only in the dictionary," and I appreciate the sentiment of the statement. But success is really a brief, often public moment of satiety between longer seasons of grueling private work. And if we understand that process, then we can bask in the applause, catch our breath, and embark on our next adventure bubbling with enthusiasm.

Or at least without dread.

So here’s to your next sink full of dirty dishes. May you have the passion and perspective to conquer them with joy!

And rubber gloves, to protect your hands.