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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mom’s Mad I Washed the Dishes

My Mom and I have had our ups and downs over the years. Like most people we have had our moments of anger and then patched things up. We have been able to keep the peace for a long time. I believe that it is worth the struggle to keep things calm and rational between my family and me. I think that we are adequately rewarded to the efforts to keep relationships between the people we care about peaceful.
Like anybody else my mom likes to receive a little help now and again. It does our relationship a lot of good if I chip in and help her out with some little job. For example, doing the dishes. When I am over her house I usually help out with washing the dishes. But it is not as easy to accomplish this task as one would think. I remember very vividly the first time I tried to help with the dishes. I got up from the table, I went over to the sink and my Mom insisted that I sit down. She said that she didn’t need any help with the dishes and that I should relax. I saw no problem with this. Relaxing is always a good thing. The next thing I remember she was banging dishes and muttering to herself about how no one helps her. Oops. What did I do wrong?

Now lets think about this a minute. Mom said that I should not do the dishes and that I should go and sit down. Like a dutiful son I obeyed her command. However then she gets upset that she is doing all of the work after dinner and this obviously isn’t fair. I can understand how she feels. So what do I do? On the one hand I can listen to what she tells me to do. She says do nothing, I do nothing. This is very doable for me. Doing nothing is very high on my priority list. If my Mom wants me to sit back and relax, well as a dutiful son I should not disappoint her. But if I do listen to her, she will not be happy because she will be forced to do everything herself. She may say, “don’t help with the dishes” but what she means is “someone better help me or else”. It took me a while to understand this because I am a little on the slow side. So on the other hand, if I do help to clean up the dishes I have to listen to her complain about how I shouldn’t be doing them. This goes on until the job is finished. That is when peace is restored. Peace is a good thing – being better than listening to an unhappy person. So let’s get this straight. If I don’t help, there will be peace temporarily while the dishes are cleaned by Mom, but no peace afterwards. If I do the dishes, there will not be much peace during the actual work, however peace and tranquility will break out after all of them are done.

I have chosen to do the dishes. Whenever I am over her house, I get up immediately after diner and start cleaning. Mom says, “don’t do that”, “what are you doing over there”, didn’t you hear me say I’ll wash the dishes?” I ignore her, finish cleaning the dishes and then all is right with the world. I know that she really wants me to help out, so I know that I am doing the right thing.

I have received a great benefit by helping my Mom. We have a better relationship. And peace is in the air.

God Bless You,

Pastor Bill

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