Friday, April 8, 2011


Everyone has quirks.

Charles Jumonville, my Dad, loves to clean.  And when I say clean, I mean clean.  No matter where he is, or how much time he has he loves to clean.  His favorite motto about cleaning also permeates his life: “leave it better than you found it.”  My Dad is always striving to make whatever he has or wherever he is better and cleaner than he found it.  This motto is an excellent statute to model your life after, but I personally would not scrub the bathroom of the hotel we just stayed in.

But as much as I love to tease my Dad about cleaning, there is one aspect of cleaning that I actually enjoy.  For whatever reason The Jumonville’s do not have a dishwasher, thus we wash all our dishes by hand.  And honestly, I can say I like washing the dishes. 

Some of you, mainly Liz, may sarcastically say, “Washing dishes is necessary. Why are you blogging about that?”  I am blogging about washing dishes because the motto I associate with washing dishes also permeates my life: “Justice is washing your own dishes. Love is washing your neighbors dishes.”

It is necessary to wash your own dishes.  If not, they pile high and leave your whole house smelling like dirty dish water.  But washing your neighbors dishes is not necessarily necessary (see what I did there? I incorporated my blog title in a blog post!).  There are no direct negative effects such as high piles of dishware and poor odors.

So is justice necessary? Is love not?

I think this quote implies that humanity is rooted in justice.  Even though there may be people who never do their dishes unless they are told (my roommate), this action is an integral part of what makes humans human.  Justice is forever rooted in humanity.  We are all called and compelled to work for justice.  We do what is right and just for ourselves. Even though types of justice, such as distributive and social, are perceived and operated on the societal level, attitudes of justice towards yourself and others are engrained in human nature.  When little kids do something wrong, guilt leads them to believe that they deserve their ‘just desserts.’ 

But does this mean that love is not?  This quote leads me to believe the power of love stems from the freedom associated with love.  We have the freedom to choose whom we love, and whom we don’t.  When we choose to wash our neighbors dishes, we choose to go beyond the personal obligation of washing our own dishes, and we reach out to those around us.  Love is a greater sign of the goodness of humanity than justice can ever.  We all wash our own dishes, but it is a powerful sign if we wash our neighbors dishes.  We all like our friends and look after their well-being, and our own but how powerful is it when we look after the well being of those who aren’t our friends and family?

1 comment:

  1. Ben, this is an insightful post, and I love how you take something so practical and everyday (such as washing dishes) to make a larger and important point about justice and love.

    Not to mention that you worked in the blog title. Nicely played.