The dishwasher in the rectory broke down. Again. Of course it was after one of those times when we didn’t start it up because we thought we could squeezes just a few more dishes in. “There’s always room for more.” So she was packed to the gills and then . . . nothing.
I put signs all around the kitchen, “The dishwasher is broken! If you use it, you must wash it by hand.” The repair man came out today and said the computer board would need replaced and that the part and labor would be $400! The machine is only a couple of years old and we just replaced this very same part a year ago so $400 seems a bit excessive, considering these two repairs would be way more than we paid for the thing in the first place. So we are getting a new one – and not the same brand.
Now, I think it would be understandable if one were upset at this debacle. Cheap equipment is wasting our time and resources. But on the other hand, how many things had to right to face this problem? We had food. We had (nice) plates and service wear on which to eat the food that needed cleaning. We (had) a dishwasher. We have clean water. We have soap. We have safe and reliable electricity. We have a kitchen. We live in a place where a repair man could come out within a day. We are able bodied enough that we can wash dishes by hand and had the materials on hand to do it. And we have the joy to put up with it.
A person about whom I’ve written here before was in a terrible car accident last week. She was at Mass this week saying that, although two cars were totaled and she had a concussion and broken rib, she and the kids walked away. It was going to be a hardship getting a new car but they had a lot about which to be thankful so she chose to be grateful instead of angry.
When something goes wrong, there is so much that has to go right for there to be something that we can complain about. We have a choice. Every event can be the end of the world or an opportunity. One of the opportunities is to realize how much of life is good in order to have the problem we face even be able to be a problem at all.