Oh the simple joy of being able to clean my kitchen. That is the thought that went through my head just minutes ago as I wiped the last crumb off the counter and smiled at the not necessarily sparkling, but mostly clean kitchen. Likely, the ability to clean your kitchen is not at the top of most people’s list of joyful activities. But, for me, a clean kitchen has been a rarity these past months and years.
In this up and down battle of chronic pain, the litmus test for my pain level is often the amount of time I spend in the kitchen and the resulting meals and messes. On the worst of days, food gets thrown into the crockpot and countertops are left a mess for days on end. We are fed and thankful that our stomachs are full, but for the most part, meals are on the low end of palatable and I cringe at the mess I am unable to clean. As I make progress over time, crockpot meals turn into one pot stove meals, pots of soup, and a slow progression of more complicated affairs. Progress is most easily noted by the clear correlation between my daily pain levels and the level of kitchen cleanliness before I retire for bed. If you find the kitchen a mess, I likely had a bad day, and vice versa.
And that is why I exclaim, “Oh the simple joy of being able to clean my kitchen!” What a sense of satisfaction I get out of clearing the dishwasher all in one swoop instead of over the course of the whole morning. More satisfaction from wiping the counter clean and knowing I have space to make the next meal. The clean kitchen feels wonderful in and of itself, but much more than that, a clean kitchen symbolizes a healing body. It means my body is building stability and endurance, making progress over long periods of time. A clean kitchen means my days are easier and brighter, at least for the time being. A clean kitchen symbolizes hope that maybe, just maybe, better is yet to come.