Sunday, March 22, 2009

Comfort zone

Okay, so I'm a product of the age. That's been made perfectly clear lately.  A week ago, our washing machine started banging like a big bass drum.  After three loads of of tippany, and dogs barking in rhythm, we (er, make that Beve) called a repair man.  The first one who came took one look and told me we needed to call a different man.  Our entire basket (the drum where the clothes spin) was loose from its moorings.  The good news: it's covered under warranty.  But that 's the only good news.

This second repairman, a true grump, complained the whole time he was here.  He'd never seen a Whirlpool fall apart like this before. The part needed to be ordered, and it will take two plus weeks to get here.  Deep sigh--from him, I mean.  And it's an incredibly long repair.  Another deep sigh.  You'd think I was torturing him, rather than helping him accrue income at an obscene rate.  "What's the alternative?" I asked him.  "You could buy a new machine."  Boy, this is one lazy repairman.  He'd rather see us spend four times the money than actually fix a 6-year-old washer.  I told him that was out of the question and was rewarded with my third deep sigh.  "I guess I'll call you when the parts come in," he said mopily (is that really a word?  Oh well).

So now we're without a washer for two more weeks.  I was thinking about the washing machines of a century ago, the kind where a woman in a dress and apron had to hand-feed the clothes through the wringer, then hang the wet clothes on a line outside.  I've been spoiled by my extra-large machine; shoot, for that matter, I'm spoiled by being able to live in pants about ninety-nine percent of the time.  Then I got to thinking about all the appliances I take for granted.  Reach back in your memory for the the picture of coffee pots perking on a stove.  My parents had one of those when I was a child.  And we had a black and white TV.  Lucky to have one, too.  My life is soooo easy, it makes me feel a little guilty.  Phones in our pockets so we're never out of touch?  Texting our kids every few minutes?  Okay, I'm exaggerating, my kids would kill me if I interrupted their lives so incessantly, even if I want to.

But now, below the surface, I'm constantly whining.  Three whole weeks without a washing machine. Having to bundle them into the car in a dirty heap, to take them across town to wash?  Yuck, I hate it.  Have you ever sat around a laundromat? (that reminds me, when I was in London about a thousand years ago, one day my friend and I needed to wash our meager supply of clothes, so when we saw a 'Bobby' in the middle of a bridge over the Thames, we asked where the nearest Laundromat was.  He looked at us quizzically, had absolutely no idea what we were talking about.  Finally, after we both explained and pantomined washing clothes, he said, "Oh, a laundrette."  Like laundromat is so much different than laundrette!).  Laundromats, or laundrettes for that matter... well, without casting aspirsions, let's just say they aren't my favorite place to be.

But sometimes, when life begins beating like percussion, we find ourselves out of our comfort zone, doing life's laundry where we'd rather not.   We find ourselves facing inconvenience and even uncomfortable situations.  The question is, how will we respond in those moments?  Will we--do I--look at them as opportunities to grow and expand, or do we react in our flesh and complain? No, don't answer that.  I already know the answer for myself.  But this I know.  In the little inconveniences, in the giant dislodging we also sometimes face, God is faithful.  God is in the midst, working behind the scenes or in front of them, and His only goal is to save us, to keep on saving us every moment of our lives.  We are the 'being saved ones.'  Sometimes--maybe often--from ourselves.

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