My dishwasher finally bit the dust. I knew three years ago, the first time I used the machine that it’s motor was on the way out. Month by month the sound of the motor grinding grew louder. When it finally quit I could only laugh. I had just bought a case of canning jars and wanted to put up some food. I had to unload the machine and wash the dishes, including all those jars, by hand.
Mentioning the demise of the dishwasher to my daughter-in-law she asked if I wanted her to have my son send his appliance guy out (wait he has an appliance guy?). Shaking my head no, I informed her it was beyond repair and I could easily live without it.
She reminded me that a dishwasher is mandatory in any home she lives in, and if it were out of commission it would be a very bad day for her family to be around her.
Our conversation made me think of all the ways our conveniences lead to stress.
Take for instance a car. It’s nice to have the freedom of knowing a vehicle is ready at any moment to swiftly take us anywhere we care to go. But what happens to our day if we turn the key and the car doesn’t start?
We can over react. How am I going to make it to work on time? How will I get groceries today? How much is this going to cost? We allow that one interruption in our normal day to set the rest of our day up for failure after failure.
I once saw a photo of a family in a third world country who had a couple changes of clothes, a cow, a pot and large spoon for cooking in a book titled Material World by Peter Menzel Each family member had a bowl, spoon, and cup. The bowl and cup were made from wood. I wondered if a family member had carved each of those bowls and cups from wood he or she found.
I wondered how it would be to live with so little, could I survive, how hard would it be? Then I saw the looks on their faces, it was delight. They were proud of showing what they owned to the photographer. They were happy. There was nothing else you could have said about this family who had so few material possessions. They had what they needed, which included each other, and needed nothing else to be happy.
We think we could never live like that, yet we ponder how this family was happy. The answer came to me instantly. They were happy because they didn’t have the look of stress so many in the first world have.
No matter what our situation, each and every one of us has to take the good with the bad. For my daughter-in-law no dishwasher is the end of the world. No dishwasher gives me the opportunity to play in sudsy water.
For that family with only a handful of possession, I wonder how they would react to an opportunity to have hot and cold running water in their home which we take for granted. Could it make them happier?
I wrote this a month ago and stuck it in my drafts to clean up when I had time. With so many suffering from Hurricane Harvey I thought it was the right moment to post this. There are thousands today in our country who don’t have a bowl, spoon and cup or a place to call home, forget the dishwasher.
Our country rates poorly on helping those most in need after a disaster, just look at what happened after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Congress fought over funding to help the people. Instead, there are many individuals who are doing what they can to help, not waiting for the government to do it all. I want to leave you with this video of one person who can always be counted on regardless of how big or small the issue is. J.J Watt said it best when he said “Thank you for showing there’s good in the world.”