All the cliche’s apply: “She was too young to die.  She had so much more to do. “ It’s sad to see a life cut short… even the life of a much beloved appliance.  Yes, today we grieve the passing of my dishwasher. Beloved servant of under 2 years and faithful repository of my families germy dishes for an equal amount of time.  One who, while with us for a short amount of time, truly made a difference in our lives.

As of today, it has been 10 days since her demise. (seven since the death notice was served by the supposed repairman.  )I am finally prepared to memorialize her service and talk about *sniff* my grief.

 Grief you ask?  Yes, grief.  I have lost not just an appliance, but a cohort in my daily battle against grime. I have lost a partner.. a trusted companion and one who has washed hundered of pasta sauce stained plates and finger printed glasses during her short life. One who quietly obey my WORDS or YELLING but by a mere touch of a button  and washed and dryed a days worth of dishes. She was my friend, I miss her.

With a background in pastoral counseling, I should have recognized the signs of grief before I became entangled in it’s web.  They were so blatant: 

Shock:   “THE DISHWASHER!”  I screeched, to whom ever may hear.

Denial: “It can’t be BROKEN, BROKEN… I’ll just run it again..maybe those dishes were TOO DIRTY.”  Which lead to incessant pushing of a button on a completely darkened control panel and a subsequent emergency call for first aid via the extended warranty…

Bargaining:  “Maybe if I buy a different detergent or cut the power to it and then restart it will work.. I promise never to leave pasta stuck to the bottom of a pan again if it will just WORK…maybe she can be repaired… come on baby- just stick with us intil we can get that part in!”

Anger: “I hate this stupid dishwasher.  WHY CAN’T anyone make a product that lasts longer than it’s WARRANTY?  And since when does a warranty mean I have to wait until FOREVER for it to be repaired? I should rip it form the wall and deliver it’s broken self back to the store where I bought it— holding a picket sign that says: _____SELLS CRAP! “  (but I’m not bitter.. no never bitter that just wouldn’t be very “Christian” of , now would it? No, as a good Christian Mom, I just fantasize about picketing while wearing my zebra striped rubber gloves and dousing the passersby with DSH SOAP…like an animal rights activist with red paint, shouting : “Appliance HURT! ” all the while.

Guilt: “It’s my own fault… I shouldn’t have expected so much from her.. I should have rinsed the dishes better, why did I believe the lie?  “soft food disposal”.. I KNOW better.. you can only expect so much from a poor machine!  Maybe it was the power outage… I should have protected her better— put myself between her and harm…I should have..” Oh, the guilt of grief… as if the world is in my control… and I could save her from God’s timing…

Depression: “She’s really gone. I’m goin tot have to actually WASH DISHES BY HAND…”  My tears salting and softening the water as I did…(only not:P)

Acceptance and Hope: “I can wash dishes.  It really isn’t so bad.”  (when I’m not PMSing that is..) Besides… it counts as economic stimulus to keep buing paperplates and cups… in the long run.. I’m making the world a better place… aren’t I?  Maybe I don’t even NEED a dishwasher….”

In truth, the deceased dishwasher has been an inconvenience, not a tragedy.  But the process of getting it repaired under the extended warranty?  THAT has been tragic.  A travesty of customer service in my opinion.

It’s went like this:

A full day of waiting for the repairman… to be told the motherboard was dead due to unknown reasons and that a part would have to be ordered.

A week of waiting to get a call for an actual repair date.. afterwhich we find out  our part has “YET TO BE APPROVED, LET ALONE ORDERED”

And now?  On day 12 ?  A continued silent wait. I’ve gone through, to one degree or another all the phases of grief. I AM READY TO MOVE ON.

I admit- I’ve spiritualized this experience..I thought  maybe God has something for me to learn here.. and.. maybe he does.  I’ve listened and prayed , I’ve watched out the window while doing the dishes for things I’d have otherwise missed.. like the brilliant red of a cardinal contrasted with the snow and grey of winter…. but in the end?  No big spiritual lessons.  Just a broken dishwasher.

Maybe that’s the lesson.  Maybe, sometimes stuff just happens…you greive and you deal.. you gain perspective and see the silly of grieving over a dishwasher… and you move on.. zebra print gloved hands ready to wash yet another CUP (my people must use more CUPS than any family on EARTH) and wait- yet again for the repairman…and his promise of hope…

Worst case?  You wait until you can buy a new stupid dishwasher.. swearing that this one?  WILL NEVER BREAK. 

 Ecclesiates 3  

1 There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
       a time to keep and a time to throw away,

 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
       a time to be silent and a time to speak,

 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
       a time for war and a time for peace.

 9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Dear Lord- A broken dishwasher.. yeah a dishwasher.. mentioned in prayer…but it’s frustrating me!… and if I believe you care about the details of life…then this is one of mine..I feel like I’m wasting so much time… so much energy standing at the sink up to my elbows in sudsy water and grease.  I’m looking for a spiritual lesson or some nugget of good to come out of this..and I’m getting nada… Maybe just maybe your point is simply this: There is a time to wash dishes by hand: DO IT.  And so- I will.  But lord- you know– it would help if you could make me LIKE doing dishes… just for this time!– Lord I love you and am glad I can laugh and cry out to you at the same time- over the big and the small things- amen”