The Secret of the Soak

Growing up there were times in our family when we didn’t have an automatic dishwasher.
I know, you’re probably thinking “What did people do without a dishwasher?!” I remember thinking the same thing. 

Before “the dishwasher” was a magic door that you put dirty dishes into and they came out clean, “the dishwasher” referred to a person, and that person was often me. My brother and I would be on a rotation for dish duty, one would wash and the other would dry. We each had our own system for cleaning up. I think my system was silverware first, cups second, plates third, pots and pans last. There was a method to my madness, and I think it helps me with things I do today.

I wanted to get the silverware done first because it would be the greatest number of items. Once these were done, the cups would sit nicely in a row next to them, then the plates etc. But the pots and pans were where the real genius was.

Attacking the pots and pans first would have meant a lot of fighting with the sticky/greasy/stuck stuff. It involved lots of scraping, scrubbing, scratching and most importantly, effort! If I wanted to save myself from extra effort, I’d do those last. Doing them at the end gave them time to soak in the water and soap, making them very easy to clean.

I think sometimes life can be a little like cleaning the dishes. But no matter how much mess is around us, what’s true of dishes is true of messes everywhere: you just have to clean it! But it’s also true that we can save ourselves some work by “letting it soak,” giving ourselves the permission to make a decision when the time is right.

We live in a very impatient world, and waiting is increasingly difficult for many of us. But waiting isn’t always the enemy. In fact, it’s often our greatest ally.


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