There are valuable lessons to be found everywhere. Today, let’s take a few from the:
Lesson 1. A single dish left unclean invites it’s friends to join the scene
That lasagna and bbq chicken was fabulous. Please send more. You can just leave it in the sink like last time; we’ll take care of it.
The Kitchen Mice
11:48pm, exhausted, and have to wake up super early tomorrow?
Time for bed!
Aaand maybe one Youtube video. Just one.
4 hours, 33 cat videos, 15 Facebook posts, and 13 Wikipedia articles later: oops.
Lesson 2. Clean it before long or the junk will stick on strong
That oatmeal I had for breakfast? It would have been a cinch to rinse it off right after I ate it. But two days later, those oats have become one with the ceramic. Forget the sponge, break out the jack-hammer.
Those misunderstandings I had with a friend that I never sought to resolve because I thought it would be weird and difficult in the moment? Well I finally got around to it because the years until I did so were, well, weird and difficult.
Lesson 3. A loaded sink starts to stink
There’s no use crying over spilled milk. But there’s no helping it over the waftings of a weeks-worth of milky cups and cereal bowls in the sink.
Ever put off something to tomorrow that had to be done today? I have.
I once had a car that made a creaking sound when making turns.
I thought to myself, “Probably nothing,” and promptly did nothing about it.
Months later, I was told the sound was coming from the rusting, disintegrating metal joints that hold the engine in place. Turns out it was no longer safe to drive as nearly all of the joints had worn away and the engine was on the verge of dropping out of the bottom of the car.
I thought to myself, “That stinks.”
Lesson 4. An empty sink is a drive-thru where cleanliness is met; not a garage where filth is collected and kept.
My hands are full. I’m holding plates and a rectangular pan, both splattered with remnants of an extra saucy casserole. The sink is empty.
For the past-week, its shimmering interior walls have been hidden from my sight beneath a mountain of dirty bowls and tupperware containers that I tossed in while passing through the kitchen. I am tired and tempted to repeat last week’s habit. Doing so provided a fleeting pleasure as I bypassed the need to clean them and moved on to other things. But every time I entered the kitchen they leered at me like a stack of unpaid bills, reminding me of my mounting debt to cleanliness.
I step up to the sink and marvel once more at its spotless interior. I set the dishes down. Then I pick up the sponge.
Mistakes can be our greatest teachers or cruelest tormenters but the choice is ours.
The lessons we can draw from our mistakes teach us how to live better lives. Far too often I’ve traded those lessons for unproductive regret or the temporary relief of ignoring the issue, letting them pile up in my ‘sink’ and perfuming other areas of life with their stench. As you can see via the previous three lessons, all I achieved via those strategies were some sleepless nights, awkward relationships, and a dead car. No thanks.
I like the idea of confronting my mistakes as they happen (because they will), learning what I can, and then moving on for crying-out-loud. I’ve spent too much life trying to re-do things that have already happened. There’s so much more life to live now than there is in the past.
If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.