2016 © Anne Rose
The story I’m telling you probably won’t knock you off your feet. It’s more like getting your toes tickled by a gentle wave that’s washing upon the shore.
But this is my life, the little things. It’s where I see God peeking out from around the corner with a big smile on his face. And it’s where I finally get it and smile back.
So here’s my story. It all starts with a little orange rug. I knew I shouldn’t have tossed it into the washer with the rubber backing peeling off. The first time I did that it clogged the drain—and cost me a whole lot of money.
But there’s more to it than that. My washer sometimes seems possessed. On any given day, it can be swishing and tossing and turning like any good washing machine. But then without warning, it stomps its feet and knocks loudly while doing an angry dance across the floor. This behavior definitely gets my attention.
My biggest frustration, though, has been the two little buttons on the front. Sometimes they work. And sometimes they don’t. Unplugging is one tactic I’ve used to get the clothes clean before my husband has to wear his swim trunks as underwear. But this is not perfect. It requires near heroic effort, dragging a chair from the kitchen and draping myself over the top of this nearly refrigerator-size box just to yank the plug—wait—and plug it back in again—with absolutely no guarantee it will work on the first, second or third try.
But back to the orange rug. I went through the unplugging drill, knowing that a fourth try would result in more numbness in my sacroiliac joint. And then I watched my husband spend an hour trying to remove the front panel. And then I calculated how long I could keep him down there until the impossible happened—that he would actually get into the thing and fix it. And finally—finally there was only one answer.
It took the repairman two days to get there (hopefully, we had enough swim trunks) and it took what seemed like two minutes for him to tell us that there was nothing wrong with the machine. After I paid him enough to take his entire family out to a really nice restaurant, I tried to convince myself that we had needed his professional diagnosis … Maybe I should have plugged it in one more time.
The next day my hand was still shaking from writing the check. But some things are worth it I told myself. Don’t be so cheap. At least now you can do your wash.
Except I couldn’t. The washer absolutely refused to work!!!
Now desperate to make sense of what didn’t make any, I remembered a few days before this fiasco when I got the pious, uplifting and satisfying thought that I should bless that button with holy water—which I did. And how wonderful—the very power of God had flowed through my little bitty finger as I touched it. Presto! We’ve got lights.
But that was then. And here I was again, standing on the shore of the Red Sea, waiting for another miracle, still feeling the sting of that repair guy. He took me. I wish I could make over a hundred bucks so easy. Boy, am I dumb was stuck in my throat like a chunk of dry chicken.
Another thought was stuck there too. Go ahead. Push it.
The idea plunked like a rock tossed into the river. Why would I want to do that? It wouldn’t do any good.
It must have been heaven knocking on my door. Do it.
My stomach turned. I was about to get the fool of the year award. Okay, I griped all the way to my toes. If I do this every ounce of self-respect will go with it.
Then this: The last time you unplugged it on your own, you let it sit for a minute. Leave it unplugged longer—just like you did for the repairman.
Really? I hadn’t thought of that. Enthusiasm for the button bump started to creep in through the back door.
I don’t know when I decided it was time. It was a while—not a whole day—but before my laundry had time to totally decompose on the mudroom floor. When I did it, I did it with aplomb—and holy water. My finger no sooner touched the panel and up she lit. And I’ve been washing clothes ever since. No swim trunks needed. Just regular clothes.
Sometimes God has me do some pretty crazy things before He gives me an answer. It’s not the way I want it most of the time. But in the end, it is.