The Kitchen Sink

Do not take for granted the kitchen sink
Bath water it once held to clean baby’s soapy feet
Repository of crumbs and water to wash
the plates off which we eat.

Although stained dirty with soap scum and coffee
and must be scrubbed for the white to shine anew
the kitchen sink is a luxury
our ancestors never knew.

Running water from a spiggot still remains a dream
for millions who trek after rising from their beds
a mile or more with 40 pounds of dirty water
sloshing and perched atop their dusty heads.

Pavement instead of mud we have.
Blankets and soft beds instead of stone we have.
Endless entertainment at button’s touch instead of painful toil we have.

Yet, what do we appreciate?
Our voices, our hands, our papers and ink?
Do we live in gratitude for this and more?
Or do we disdain and take for granted the dirty kitchen sink?

Would our ancestors approve our slothful despair
and ever-yearning lust for more? Our annoyance at not having enough?
Would they, schooled in the rich biography and teachings
and practiced in the worship and in true communion
with Him who gave His life for us,
shake their heads, wag their fingers, and cluck their tongues
at our childish tirades when we judge and cannot share with neighbors
at our sleeping in on Sundays
at our amassing of wealth
at our poisoning of drinking wells and swimming holes
at our irreverence and forgetfulness of THEIR graves
and our OWN souls?

Do they pray for us now?
How long has it been since we prayed for them?
How long has it been since we remembered with gratitude and humilty
the blessed souls on whose shoulders we all stand?

And what of our fear?

My daughter brought home from the fair last week
a tiny creature with sharp seeing eyes in a shell
and put it in a plastic box no bigger than a shoe.
Unable to turn round in its tiny prison
Unable to stretch and climb and dig and seek
It retreats in fear and sits sadly in a corner
depressed.
Instead of crawling happily on our hands
It pinches our fingers with fear when we draw near.
We’ve lost its trust by making it prisoner.

Yet what else can we teach but what we ourselves know?
We who have imprisoned ourselves in fear?

Each day we put on fear when we put on the news.
Each day we put on fear when we lock our doors.
Each day we put on fear when we judge our neighbors as different than us.
Each day we put on fear when we judge ourselves as not having enough.
Each day we put on fear when we arm ourselves with guns.
Each day we put on fear when we rely upon ourselves for our daily bread
instead of thanking Him.

Each day we lather our lawns with poison in fear of a little yellow flower.
Each day we lather our sinks with poison in fear of a few invisible lifeforms.
Each day we entrust corporations to pasteurize and lather with chemicals our food in fear of disease.
Each day our bodies choke with fat inflamed to protect us from the toxic poisonous chemicals we spread in fear and which we now breathe and wallow in.
Each day our bodies choke with fat inflamed to protect us from the dead and sterilized and non-digested fermenting slop in our guts which the corporations call food and with which we stuff ourselves insatiably.
Each day we hate ourselves for being fat.

Each day we trade bravery for comfort
wisdom for entertainment
freedom for security
gratitude for disdain
love for fear.

Our ancestors who trekked alone, thousands of miles over sea and land,
with little more than the clothes on their backs,
they put on faith instead of fear.
Our elders who walked miles in the snow and wind and rain to school each day, and
endured the droughts, and picked the fields, and faced the straw bosses, and accepted the draft and enemy gunfire–
they knew how, each day, to put on faith instead of fear.

It takes courage to shake off this cloak of fear, this false security, and replace it with His shroud.
To put on Christ.

All this I ponder this morning, washing dishes, at the kitchen sink.

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