I had just posted a blog titled “A Brief Thought on Snow…and Jesus…” I was enjoying a relaxing day at home with the Lord as well as catching up on bill paying, paperwork, and some ministry things. Hot coffee, snow falling, writing, with a few extras in between is my kind of day!
A few hours later, our daughter said, “Mom, I don’t know if you noticed but the washing machine isn’t working right. There’s a bunch of water just sitting in the bottom. The lights go on and it makes noise but nothing is happening.”
I remembered a few weeks before this it was acting up and had mentioned to my husband I thought the wash machine was on its way out. But after pushing a few buttons it “kept going” so I forgot about it until this particular afternoon. I went down to the basement to see if my button pushing prowess would work better than my daughter’s. I don’t know a mom who doesn’t think she can push buttons better than anyone else!
Well, I was so confident in my ability to get it to work I actually put another load of clothes in to wash, fully expecting it to “take off” for me. Amazingly, it did. It started filling with water which it hadn’t been doing for the first fifty button pushes so I left it confident in my knack for effective button pushing. When I returned later to put the clothes into the dryer…well… I was unpleasantly surprised by a washer full of soaking wet clothes sitting in seven inches of water. Okay – it didn’t work and after another ten-minute button pushing blitz, I could no longer live in denial…the wash machine was shot!
So…I texted my husband who was at work just to see if he “remembered” me telling him a few weeks back that our wash machine was dying. Sometimes, the modern form of communicating without visual eye contact works to our benefit. That is…if your husband actually reads his text messages which in this case he didn’t. So when I called him later about some other things I expected him to bring up the wash machine. He didn’t, so I did.
He is a patient man and simply said, “So you want to go buy a new washer when I get home?” Bless his heart! What I wanted to say and what I said were two different things. I wanted to say “Absolutely not! I want YOU to go buy a new washer, bring it home, hook it up, and we’ll be good to go.” What I said was “Sure. We can do that.”
I don’t like shopping in general, and appliance shopping even less. In over thirty years of marriage though, we’ve had to do our share of shopping for appliances so I knew we could go around to several different stores, get lots of good advice, apply for lots of great interest free payment plans, contemplate two to four year extended warranties, and well… you know how it goes. So when my husband got home and asked where should we start, I chose one store…his store…Menards! He said, “Don’t you want to try Appliance Smart, Sears, Best Buy…?” Nope – just Menards!
We went and looked at the line up of wash machines, of course, each one of them on sale! Besides the sale price, I basically looked only at energy efficiency and made my decision quickly and confidently proclaiming, “This is the one I want.” My husband said “Are you sure?” Yes! “Positive?” Yes! “You don’t want to keep looking?” No! “But I like this one over here. It’s bigger and…and…and!”
I say, “Okay, we can get that one.” He says, “No, we can get the one you want. But you really should take a good look at this one.” Around and around we go smiling and giggling along the way. We finally settle on the one I choose since I do the laundry. Now…to find a salesperson to help us…Where might we find one when we really need one?
Alas, one shows up only to hand us to another, only to be told he has to help someone else first, only to have the first one say he can “try” to help us. We tell him, “We want to buy a wash machine!” He says, “Okay”! “We want this one!” He says, “Okay, let me see if we have one in the store.” (We’re looking at it – obviously you have one in the store.) He stares at his computer screen for a long time and says, “Nope, we don’t have one.” End of story! I look at him and say, “Well, can you get one from another store?” He looks and says, “I can see if there are any available. Nope. Nope. Nope. There is one in Elk River, MN but I don’t suppose you want to drive there?” I thought (but didn’t say it out loud) “No sir, we sure would like it delivered though!”
The other guy (who was helping another customer) was watching this whole thing and said we just couldn’t get that machine. I say, “Then why is it on the floor, just to tease us?” My husband is very jovial with the fellow saying he has never been told at Menards that he can’t buy something. We thought this was quite funny, though I’m not sure the sales guys felt the same way. We ask if the other machine, the one my husband wanted was available. Nope, not that one either. How about this one? Nope, can’t get that one. I finally say, “Well, why don’t you tell us which ones we CAN buy and we’ll choose from those.” (with a smile on my face of course) He complies with us and points to one they have in stock. Only thing is the energy efficiency rating is four times the cost of the one I wanted. The sales guys sort of just walk away at this point while my husband and I have some fun at their expense, while trying to decide what to do next.
There is one floor model we can take “as is” but it is $150 more than the one we want. The guy says he’ll knock another $20 off if that will help. I said, “Well the only difference is this one has a glass top so I can watch my clothes getting cleaned, and I am probably not going to do that so… I can’t really see paying that much more for it.” He says, “Yeah, the glass top is probably why it is more.” (Insert smile here). My husband looks at him and says, “Man, do you ever smile? You need to loosen up and have some fun in life.” The man smiled!
We settled on the original machine, (not the one on the left) needing to special order it. That means we’ll not be able to wash clothes at home for about two to three weeks. If you happen to be around us this month…let me just say in advance…sorry! If we smell there is good reason.
We had a good time buying a wash machine…and then I couldn’t help but laugh some more as I rehashed the experience the next day, remembering a verse I used in the blog the previous morning, from the book of Mark “His (Jesus) clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.”
See, I think things like this are funny! Could God have been playing with me, testing my reaction, trying my trust, or maybe just seeing if I would catch His little “funny”? I can’t prove God did it but He could have been in it! I had enjoyed a day watching snow fall, so white it blinded me, threw a load of clothes in the washer to whiten them, then found out I couldn’t BECAUSE my machine was broken… all reminding me how close God is in the little things in life.
It got me thinking about how intimately God is involved with us…how detailed He is… how caring, fun, and funny He is! And most definitely, it got me thinking of Jesus and His exceeding white clothing, like snow. It got me thinking about how much I love clean clothes fresh out of the machines, smelling so good! It got me thinking how much I love Jesus fresh, every moment, smelling good, bringing refreshment into my life.
Then I thought how this could have been so different. I could have gotten angry, frustrated, and discouraged that RIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS the wash machine dies. A few years ago I would have went in that direction. Today, nah! After all, He had just talked to me hours earlier about a launderer and snow and Himself. How thankful I am to Him for cleaning us up, whiter than snow! How grateful I am that He forgives, showers us with grace, love, and mercy! And how ridiculously fun is God to show up in the midst of our everyday “disasters” to remind us He is in control?
As we were waiting to “see” if we could at least special order the wash machine, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of our persistence to buy a wash machine from Menards. I mean, seriously, we could have gone anywhere and probably gotten better customer service, but…as I said, I dislike shopping A LOT and I had no intention of shopping around…the plus side of it was hearing my husband help this guy loosen up and have a little fun…I would have missed it had we moved on too quickly…just like I would have missed the magnificent snow falling if I had moved on too quickly in my day…just like I would have missed God’s sense of humor…if I didn’t remember the launderer in the Scripture verse from the day before…