We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,
and the wonderful works he has done.
That generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn;
that they in turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God
and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments.
Psalm 78:4, 6-7
My daughter and I take on the chore of washing the dishes because the dishwasher is still broken. I actually enjoy washing dishes by hand. When I can settle in, giving the task the time and attention it needs, I find it relaxing and satisfying. And it does lend itself well to conversation when shared with another.
Soon I find I am telling her stories of her grandmother and then her great grandmothers. Stories of my childhood and theirs. Stories of relationships and of what was passed down, gifts and fears, blessings and curses. Stories of struggle and redemption and yearning.
And just when I think I have talked too long, that she is simply indulging me, she asks me to wait. “Hold on,” she says as she steps out of the kitchen for a minute to put away a dish—she doesn’t want to miss what I am saying.
I am caught up short by her generosity and by the realization that she is attending to our conversation with care, and that I feel heard and honored. Together we have entered into that holy place of the stories of our ancestors, where I learn again and again how my story is woven into the fabric of generations and God’s love, and she has glimpsed the pattern and can choose to pick up the thread and make it her own.
I offer a prayer of thanksgiving and awe that together we stand on sacred ground. Then I pick up the next pan and immerse it into the hot, soapy water.
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