It always comes as a bit of a shock whenever a faithful workhorse wears out, refuses to budge and then suddenly, gives up the ghost! All but ignored and under-appreciated, they are repeatedly put to task and left to do our bidding while we attend to a zillion other more important issues.
A quick mental calculation told me it was over 16 years old, and I was reminded of just how much of a pounding that workhorse, I call my washing machine, actually took! Besides my big group, even neighbors and friends, added regularly to its punishing tedium.
And now? There it sat, motionless: transmission shot, bleeding oil from underneath, the motor coupler gone, and the lid switch blown.
Closing the lid, I stepped back and stood there just looking. In momentary, quiet thought, I began taking mental inventory.
Last week, it was the dishwasher. One of the switches shorted and burned out the whole control panel. The putrid order of burning plastic assaulted our noses for days. Parts of my beautiful white dishwasher lay unresponsive, blackened by the heat.
There was no doubt, it was ruined. Replacing the whole electrical harness in addition to a new control panel would cost more than buying a new appliance. (Sigh)
Just a few weeks ago, it was the refrigerator. The repairman indicated that it would need to be retired soon. I shook my head, expecting it to rattle too!
For now, it looks like I’ll be washing dishes by hand and using the fridge very cautiously.
I’m smiling – really I am!
More inventory-taking. Along with a couple of major car repairs, we’ve managed to piece together the vacuum, the household air conditioning unit, and the heating system in just a matter of that past 6 months. My office computer and printer bit the dust within days of each other.
The angst of it all! When everything fizzles nearly at once, it’s frustratingly inconvenient!
When our lifestyles must abruptly adjust to accommodate their absence, we quickly learn just how dependent we’ve become on these household workhorses Isn’t that the truth?
There’s something else. It sounds crazy, I know, but I find myself carefully scrutinizing each dish I use, how I use it and how many dishes or pots and pans may be needed for food prep. To save on my own time and energy, I have become uber-efficient!
Soapy hands and all, I heard myself chuckle out loud! You know, the Holy Spirit never loses a beat to make something teachable for me.
He nudged me with thoughts about people. Even God’s people who should be better prepared, are guilty of going through all the motions of life automatically.
We tend to “set” the switch and keep pushing through like little automated robots. When our friends and family begin to wear out – or when WE begin to wear out – it tends to take us by surprise!
“What’s this?” we say. “How inconvenient!” Awash with a range of feelings and emotions, hesitations and denial, we ARE often taken by surprise. Frustration, anxiety, or loss strikes us as unfair. But why?
For my best appliances, there were only so many days allotted before they could no longer function, even with replacement parts.
It’s the same with you and me.
This is not new news! As much as we take for granted, there is never any time like the present to slow down, to contemplate. We agree with that sentiment, but do we actually DO it?
Perhaps, before it’s too late, we can effect some changes in how we go about our daily routine and the business of life and living.
Personally, I don’t want to have to blow a fuse, or watch while someone I love does, before I consider just the whether or not I’ve been a good steward of what God has given me. That not only includes things, but also each precious day that I get to wake up.
The funny thing is that it really DOES come down to stewardship. If we take time to check in for our orders, we won’t usually have to experience a systems failure setback.
That’s a different kind of “automatic”, better understood as “ being led by the Spirit.”
Since I am often tempted to run on autopilot, I’ve given the Holy Spirit permission to intervene right away.
Well, it’s back to my dish-pan hands. Thank God I have running water, a house in which to live, a safe place to sleep, food in my pantry…..and now that I’m washing dishes by hand, I have definitely have MORE time to pray!