Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful for Work?

I was searching the internet for a good quote on Thanksgiving, something about being thankful to have dishes in the sink because it means that we've been surrounded by food and friends. Do you know the one I'm talking about? Well, I found it, but I also found these other two quotes that I thought were fabulous.

“What people don't realize is that the so-called Seattle grunge scene grew out of several close-knit gourmet supper clubs - we would only pick up guitars to pass the time while our dishes were simmering, baking, boiling, etc.”
-Kurt Cobain

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."
-Agatha Christie

I know, you're thinking, what in the world do Kurt Cobain and Agatha Christie have in common? Well, they are both immensely creative people whose works have sold millions of copies and influenced their scene completely. Would there be modern rock without Kurt Cobain? Maybe, but it sure wouldn't be the same. Which mystery writer of the 20th century has defined the genre? Agatha Christie for sure.
And here they are, both saying that many of their ideas were born while they were engaged in somewhat meaningless tasks like cooking dinner and doing the dishes. Tasks that must be done every day, and tasks that I dread every day. Maybe I'm just looking at it in the wrong way. Maybe instead of looking at the dishes as something gross that's keeping me from what I'd like to be doing, I need to look at it as a time when I can let my mind wander, peruse, and create because my body is engaged in work so automatic I could do it in my sleep. Maybe we need "mindless labor" like this every day so that our brains have a chance to do what they do best-- think. Maybe the dishes are a blessing after all.
It reminds me of my favorite quote from our recent General Conference by Elder Christofferson "A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires."
The work we do each day may seem menial and unimportant, but the reality is that we need it. We need it for the obvious reason: otherwise we'd live in filth and disease. But we also need it for less obvious reasons like allowing our minds to work on creative pursuits and for consecrating our lives.
Yes, I suppose that I am thankful for work. Now I'm going back to bed.

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