Monday, December 03, 2007

“The Hope of Peace”

I fixed my washing machine last week. Now, to some of you, that would be no big deal. But for some of us mechanically impaired, this was MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. Those who were at church on Nov. 25 heard the truly pitiful tale of my complete inability not only to change a flat tire but to even recognize that I had one. (If you want to hear this sad tale, go to the church website,, click on the “listen to messages” tab and find the Nov. 25th one. As a friend of mine said after hearing it, "Christy, there are angels in heaven set aside just to watch over people like you!").

OK, to get back to this washing machine. My husband bought it from his parent's estate. Here's how my sister-in-law described the purchase of this machine. "When Mother walked into the appliance store, the sales associate thought, 'All right, the sucker has shown up. I will sell her the most expensive, most complicated machine ever built.'" And thus she, and now I, ended up with a couple of intriguing Swedish-made machines. Admittedly, they don't take up much space and the washer uses very little water and does get the clothes excruciatingly clean. That's the good side. The bad side is that I had to read a 30 page manual just to figure out how to turn it on. I was so excited when I lowered my time from 45 minutes to only a few seconds to start a basic cycle. It's still another story when I want to do something more complicated.

Anyway, it quit draining last week. The electronic display said something about a fault in the drain line. Since I'm convinced that MY drain lines are simply faultless, I decided to do with the washer what I do with my computer when it gets recalcitrant—turn it off and turn it on again Three tries later, I got the same message. Three days later, with my clothes still locked in the washer, since it stubbornly refused to release the electronic lock in its undrained state, I began to get just a little concerned. Laundry was piling up, and I suspected generous mildew growth was taking place in the receptive damp environment.

I phoned the national service desk—the one advantage to such an EXPENSIVE appliance is that extremely nice and friendly people are available 24 hours a day to solve problems like this. A kind young man, and I feel sure I reminded him of his mother, expressed full confidence that I could fix the problem and explained exactly what I had to do. Simply open a little trap door and clean out a filter there. He said that probably just a little water would drain out when I did and to be sure and put something under there to catch it. Please note, I had NOT told him I had restarted the machine three times after the original error message showed up. Possibly, I should have mentioned that one little fact to him. I will refrain from describing the slight panic that hit when water simply gushed from the trap. And didn't stop gushing for quite a while. But the floor in my laundry area is now quite clean—and I really, really needed a working machine after that.

Nonetheless, I persevered, found $1.87 in loose change there, and joyfully listened later as the machine ran through its cycle, draining merrily away at the right time. What a sense of accomplishment!

Since I strongly believe that all things are connected in some way or another, I knew there was something for me to learn from this. I’m sure many have heard of the “butterfly effect”—the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world can affect a hurricane on the other side. This idea reminds us that there is no such thing as an isolated or a neutral act. Everything has consequences. Every interaction with others, every decision, every piece of work done or undone, every prayer offered or unoffered, every act of kindness or unkindness—they all add either add to or subtract from the hope of the Kingdom of God.

As we are in this time of Advent, the waiting time as we prepare to receive the Savior so generously sent by the Father, it becomes a good time to ponder the eternal consequences of our thoughts and actions, from such simple things as this little repair to such large things as beginning a war. On the day this article will be published in the Krum Star, December 7, we also remember that day that “lived in infamy”—for December 7 is the day of the horrific Pearl Harbor attack that killed so many and changed the world forever.

I want to be one who stands for peace, and I know there can be no peace with others until there is peace with God. The ability to make this simple repair brought peace to my house. Perhaps as we get ready to receive the hope offered by the birth of the Holy Child, we can also gain more ability to make peace with others. It would be a worthwhile goal.

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