Until this year I have not been good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I think I always swear to things which are a little out of reach in order to exempt myself from success. The voices in my head say, “Let it slide. After all, no one keeps New Year’s resolutions anyway…I guess I’ll just keep these 10 extra pounds for now.”
To my great surprise this year has been different. In fact it has actually caused a shift in my spirituality that I have been longing for. I think it is good news for all of us. My resolution is this: rinse and repeat.
It’s not entirely about shampoo, though that is a nice metaphor. Shampooing my hair is something I do everyday, and it doesn’t feel like work. In fact, I feel incomplete if I don’t. It’s a small task, a habit, which is why I keep it up. Dishes, on the other hand, tend to be a big mountain to climb. That’s not a metaphor. They actually pile up, and I have to climb the pile just to figure out where to start. Eesh.
So, this year I have been trying to make molehills out of mountains. In the kitchen at the sink, it starts with the small task of rinsing dishes as soon as I am done with them. Just like Mom taught me. When I do that I say, “Here is a dish, God, whatdaya think?”
Even just to remember that God is there and knows I am here is a little form of prayer. That is it. When I write, I pray for you. When I am done eating, I show God my plate. While these are not all there is to my spiritual life, right now they are the more transformative aspects of it.
I am beginning where I am rather than wasting time thinking about where I should be. My desire to pray can be like my New Year’s resolutions. I keep coming at it with expectations that are, frankly, out of reach. I would love to give you the impression that my prayer life is somehow profound, or perhaps even mystical. It isn’t.
I’d say that – for right now – I am not able to pray big, whatever that means. But by finding God and the dishes in the same sink, it doesn’t feel so exhausting. So today I pray “in small”. Even if one day I do end up praying big, I will always still have to face the details. We will always have to face the pesky busy work of life: bills, dishes, yard work, laundry, squeezing the toothpaste tube right.
Some say the devil is in the details. Some say God is there. In truth we know both options are possibilities. It all just depends on who we invite into them.