When I was a young girl it was my task to set the table at my grandma’s house for any family function. I learned the proper placement for all the utensils, glasses, plates, etc. When the meal was finished it was my task to clear the dishes and take them to the kitchen to be washed and put away. My grandma didn’t have an automatic dishwasher, instead the women in the family would gather in the kitchen and work as a team to tackle the leftovers, food scraps, and dishes.
It was a highlight for me. We were bringing order to the chaos and bonding across the generations at the same time. We shared stories, laughter, words of wisdom and encouragement as the plates were cleaned and stacked. Years later, my grandma received an automatic dishwasher to make the clean up process faster. While it was faster, we lost something in the process. Community, sharing, the building up of each other and the wisdom gathered from the older generations.
As the Church has grown in the last millennia I wonder if we have done the same thing. We have tried to create opportunities and ministries that focus on specific ages and issues. While this is well and good, it is also something that takes away the sweeter experiences of multi-generational gatherings. When the women or men or students are all the same age as you are, where will you gain the wisdom from someone who is more seasoned?
I realize I am being a bit wistful for a time from before most of all us were alive, but there is something to be said for the men in church coming alongside the younger fathers to offer wisdom and insight. There is definitely something precious about older women and mothers coming alongside the young bride and mother to offer assistance and perspective. Now we are more apt to seek wisdom from a benign third party on the Internet, who neither cares about the outcome or is invested in your life to guide you on the next part of the journey.
As a believer I have grown and learned, being blessed and challenged, by women who have mentored me during my faith journey. I still seek the wisdom of women who are a generation ahead of me, who have “been there, done that” when it comes to sending children off to college or dealing with marriage struggles. I am now entering a season of life where my insight is being requested from younger women.
It is an honor to me to be in this position. I long to encourage and challenge the younger women to dig deeper into themselves, to pour more into their relationships or their children. To offer to pray, to listen, to share, this is what it means to be a Titus 2 woman. My life would be so different if it wasn’t for my mother, grandmothers, the Carols of my life, and other mentors who have walked with me during different seasons.
Best Beloved, who are you washing dishes with in your life? Are you the younger generation? The older generation? Are you mentoring someone? Are you being mentored? It isn’t something to enter into lightly, it takes intentionality. It requires commitment and sacrifice, but the blessing, the love, the laughter, and friendships that come from those relationships are priceless. So, let’s invite someone into the kitchen, roll up our sleeves, and start washing dishes side-by-side.