A friend of mine always talks about her mom using the dishwasher as a giant drainer, instead of actually using it for washing the dishes.
When we were growing up, the only dishwashers we had stood on two very tired legs with varicose veins.
My friend’s mom had washed dishes by hand for so long that she didn’t trust some newfangled gadget to get her dishes as clean as she could.
I thought about her this week as I washed my dishes by hand and used my dishwasher as a drainer.
I didn’t discover the big puddle of water in the kitchen floor in front of the dishwasher until Tuesday. When I opened up the dishwasher, I saw that the detergent dispenser had never released.
Of course that was the night I was supposed to host bunko.
That meant fixing dinner for twelve women.
Dirtying up every pot and pan and plate and glass and piece of silverware I own.
So I started washing dishes.
And I got to thinking about all the moments I’d experienced while growing up at the sink with people. The conversations we’d had. The opportunities for bonding in the simple, mundane act of scrubbing leftover food off of plates.
Lots of those moments have been lost because we have modern conveniences to do the tasks that people used to gather in pairs, in groups, in communities to accomplish.
Canning vegetables. Making quilts. Raising barns.
We’ve found ways to accomplish the same thing as modern technology has given us more leisure time. But we have to be more intentional about getting together for social interaction. We plan coffee times at Starbucks or we go to lunch.
Yet somehow with all the modern conveniences, our schedules still get filled up and we often find ourselves too busy, too tired, to carve out time to build relationships.
With all the technology battling for our attention, it’s hard to find time for real conversation. And without real conversation, we lack connection.
No wonder so many of us are starved for relationship. For community.
Maybe we should start washing our dishes by hand again.
No, I think I’ll buy a new dishwasher.
So how do you find those moments to build connections with people?