I returned home from an extended stay at the hospital with a renewed sense of energy and vitality. I was planning on fixing a special dinner for my family, since I knew they had been living on take-out for most of my convalescence. I hummed praise choruses as I walked toward the kitchen, but my happy song was quickly replaced by a sharp intake of breath.
Dishes were stacked everywhere – in the kitchen sink, on the counters, all over the table, and even on the floor. I walked over to the sink and wrinkled my nose in disgust. Dead fruit flies and other small insects were stuck to a black slime that clung to the beautiful old dishes I inherited from my grandmother. I said a quick prayer of thanks that my husband had not used her good china.
Every ounce of energy oozed out of my body. I gathered all the strength I could and called my husband into the room. I don’t think either one of us was expecting the tirade that followed.
I insulted him and accused him of being insensitive and irresponsible. He insisted that he had just been too worried about me to care about washing any dishes.
“For two weeks? You couldn’t even wash a single dish in two weeks? I have bugs in my kitchen! Have you and the children been eating bugs all this time?”
He shrugged, and that made me even more upset. He didn’t even seem to care how upset I was over this. I was beginning to wonder if he cared about anything.
“Fine,” I said. “I’m going to wash every dish in this house, and if there are dishes that are not in this room right now, I want you to bring them in. Also, there will be no dinner until we have clean dishes.”
The threat of no food motivated my husband to agree to help me. He left the room to search for dishes. I brushed the hair out of my eyes and sighed. There was no way I was going to be able to clean this mess up in time for dinner. Tears welled up in my eyes and I lowered my head to the edge of the sink before I realized how many germs I was probably touching at that moment.
I longed for the pristine bed in the disinfected hospital room. I thought, then, that heaven must be a lot like that – light, safe, happy, and 100-percent germ-free. In heaven, there would be no bugs crawling, and dying, on your dishes. There might not even be dishes at all. Why would we need dishes? Our spirits certainly wouldn’t need to eat, would they? Even if they did, heaven is a perfect place, and it couldn’t be perfect if there were dirty dishes that needed to be cleaned. I would not have to deal with the things of this world – like the dirty dishes and bugs – forever. That thought made me smile, and I thanked God for the temporal nature of the things of this earth and the eternal promises of His Word and His glory.
When my husband returned from his dirt-seeking mission, I apologized for my hateful behavior. It seemed silly to argue now about something that would not even be a part of our lives much longer. One day, we will be in heaven together – forever – where there will be no more dirty dishes.