Monday, September 07, 2009

By Hand

Today begins another new chapter in our lives. While we are pleased with our decision I'm very sure there are some who would think our choice to be strange, silly, or even simplistic.

We moved the dishwasher out.

No, Elizabeth is still living with us. The actual load up, drag to the sink, hook up and run dishwasher. This means that we're doing dishes manually, again.

Part of our reason for this lies in the environmental impact dishwashers have and part of it is to make more room in our kitchen and maximize our use of space. But there may be another part that will produce more long-term benefits than even those previously mentioned: doing things by hand.

There was a time, several years ago, before email, chat, and facebook when I would write letters and send them off by mail. You know, putting pen to paper, envelopes and stamps. That kind of writing. Well, I've woefully gotten out of that habit and I know there's something I've come to miss. Bill says that the written word takes thought and time to convey meaning. The one who writes is obligated to put thought and time into sending the intended message. The reader also should take time and put thought into finding meaning in the words. This makes it profoundly relational.

The same differences can be seen in recipes made from scratch, handmade clothing, original artwork, and personally crafted gifts. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing anything handmade in a second-hand shop or thrift store. It's possible that some people may in fact give away or toss out things that were made specially for them or their children. Seeing the blankets, hooded towels, and handmade clothes that our kids have been given as gifts I can say with certainty that would not be me. I understand the time and thought that went into each stitch, tuck, and hem.

So it will be with our dishes, again. Carefully washing the plates, cups, pots, and pans will require time, a little thought, and some getting used to, again. If I'm fortunate to have a dish washing partner then it will go quickly and perhaps even pleasantly. But part of me is looking forward to the lessons I am sure to learn, with my hands in warm soapy water.

Who knows? You may even get a letter from me, by hand, smelling faintly of Dawn Citrus.