Since I began running full-speed ahead, no-holds barred, with-the-wind, in love with Jesus, I knew I might have to give up a few things in life, perhaps some things that many people assume come with being an American. After all, I didn't know what God had in store for me - I didn't want to be disappointed.
God gave me peace (several times...hehe) about being single. But God in His goodness gave me an AMAZING husband! I knew children would come in his time. One month after our first anniversary, our little Abigail was born, and Lucie came along later. But we'll never be able to afford a car that's not a junker. Lo and behold! We own a very nice Passat wagon that is under 100,000 miles and has heated leather seats! Wow, now we're talking God!
But I knew a house would have to wait. I knew Jon and I weren't ready to own a home. Unless God drops a house on us Wizard of Oz style, we'll be renting until further notice. Some items associated with home-ownership I am content to be without. Items such as lawnmowers, snow blowers, sump pumps, etc. (Who, by the way, coined the name "sump pump?" It's very name brings images of bubbling sewage to my mind. But I digress.) But then there are a few appliances that I think about fondly...with a sort of 1950's era gloss on them. I call them The Triple Crown. Yes, Brenda's Triple Crown of Cleaning Efficiency, the apex of the pyramid of household appliances. The Triple Crown gave the housewife victory over pruny hands, calloused knuckles, and bird poop on your knickers. Indeed, I mean the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the dryer.
I've never owned a dishwasher. Growing up, us kids each had a dish-washing night to look forward to every week. We made our own fun in small towns, we did. I found when I briefly lived in a house that used one, I didn't know how to load the dishes in it so that the little plastic lids didn't go flying all around. And I didn't know that you had to wash the dishes before you actually set the dishwasher to wash them (huh?). I didn't even know where to put the dishwasher soap, but at least I knew you had to use the special soap! (I had seen enough cartoons with bubbles spilling out of the machine to know that dishwashers require SPECIAL soap!) But I learned quickly, and then I had to leave the dishwasher behind when I got married. I'm thankful for my double sink, and I have a system down to ensure maximum efficiency in dish-washing prowess (plastics/glass first so they don't get that greasy film on them, then plates & bowls because they towel dry easily, then the silverware, then the pots and pans, then anything with...mold. Remember my number one un-favorite chore is cleaning out the fridge.) Even with my system in place, I look forward to the day when I have a dishwasher.
Although I grew up with a washing machine, there was a time (five months of time, actually) where I had to hand-wash all my clothes. When I was in the Peace Corps, we didn't even get a washboard. We rubbed the clothes against themselves to get them clean. Rub a little soap on the bottom of your sock, scrub it against itself or another sock, till the suds weren't black any more. Then rinse it out in the FREEZING tub of water. I developed callouses on the insides of my index fingers pretty fast. When you hung up the laundry to dry during the winter, it took days, because not even the insides of the houses are heated very well. And on the warm days, the birds would poop all over your meticulously washed blouse, so now you have to wash it all over again.
Nowadays I have access to machines who do the work for me, but they're not cheap. There are three tiny machines down the hall who charge me a dollar every time my daughter throws up in her bed. And then they make me keep the soiled sheets in my bathtub til morning when the laundry room opens. Or I could drive 18.24 miles to my in-laws' house where they have generously given us permission to wash and dry our laundry. And although this option is technically cheapest, it does mean an entire day is devoted to the washing and drying of laundry and nothing else. (This option also gives Nana playtime with her granddaughters, so this is definitely the better deal! It just means a day where I only check one item off my list of things to do.)
You may think this post is nothing but a gripe session, but really it's anticipation for the day (someday?) when I might finally own The Triple Crown. And oh, it is SO trivial in light of the Kingdom of God. But maybe it's not. Maybe it's a call to be mindful of the things I forget to be thankful for. Maybe I would have taken the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the dryer for granted had God given them to me after I said "I do." As it is, the day when I own all three of these appliances, I will throw a party where my guests can bring anything that needs to be washed, rinsed, spun, jet-dried or fluffed. It will be a wild time. And I'm pretty sure I'll be thankful every day of my life that follows.