Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It went out the night before we left for the beach.  The dishwasher.  The single most taken-for-granted appliance in your kitchen.  Don't think so?  Go without it for a week.  You will agree.

Last Wednesday, I rode to Lowe's, not once but twice.  The first to look at their selection and watch Madalyn open every single door to every single dishwasher on the sales floor.  The second to make my mind up {while alone} between two different models.  The most important factor in the first dishwasher purchase of my life was noise.  I wanted one that would run fairly quietly, so I settled in on one, wrote the check, and waited on the installation.  While I waited, I washed every dish and utensil by hand.  For six days.

Yesterday, when the nice fella left my house pushing the old one away, I wanted to pick up the phone and call my mom.  But I couldn't.  There aren't many women who will share in your excitement of a new dishwasher.  She would have delighted in it with me.  I can imagine her next visit to my house.  She would come in and say she wanted to see it, and I would open it for her, and she would comment on how much bigger it seemed on the inside and how many dishes I could fit in it.  And then she would probably close it and admire the digital controls.  She would be pleased.  And then we would go about our time together watching HGTV or going to Panera Bread for lunch.

Instead, I stood there staring at the empty dishwasher, little beads of water on the inside from the test run the technician had put it through.  It was so different.  It did seem larger.  But the placement of everything was opposite from what I was used to.  Plates settled in the bottom in vertical rows in the old one, while they would run horizontal in the new.  The utensils sat all to one side instead of in the middle, and the top area for the glasses is totally different.  My excitement about my new appliance turned to almost anxiety about learning how to do yet another thing in my life differently.

Everything is different.  Every single day.  And I am sick of different.

Sounds silly, doesn't it?  That I am anxious about using a new dishwasher.  But don't we get so settled into routine that we take the smallest parts of familiarity for granted?  I do.  Well, I have.  I think I lived my life in such a way that even though I knew things would eventually change, perhaps I didn't believe it.  Or maybe I believed that the shift between what I knew as normal and the new normal would be easier and less painful.  That the big things would be difficult but the little stuff wouldn't bother me at all.

I am finding through the loss I have experienced in the past six months, the loss of my maternal grandmother and my mother, there's not a single detail that doesn't hurt.  Not my first haircut {since my mom died}, not the first major appliance purchase {since my mom died}, not any little thing that has occurred {since my mom died} has been easy.  {since my mom died} becomes a hash tag for my life, and I don't even tweet.

I am running my new dishwasher now and amazed at quietly it performs its duties. I am convinced that in a couple of weeks I will have gotten to know the new appliance quite well and fallen in love with it.  We will work out what dishes go where, how to place the awkward Corning Ware and over sized coffee mugs, and which location is best for the plastic cereal bowls.  Until then, I will plow through a minute change and adjust to the new and improved member of the household.  But this adjustment, however small, reminds me that the biggest change in my life doesn't make way for a new and improved model of any type, but rather leaves an empty spot that only One can fill.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The LORD is close to those who are crushed in spirit.  {Psalm 34:17-18}


Victoria said...

Hang in there lady :)
Praying for you!

Kelly O'Dell Stanley said...

From a book I just read, MWF Seeking BFF: Ann Patchett beautifully sums up the crux of what I hope will emerge in the final months of this search. “[Here’s] my idea of real intimacy,” she writes. “It’s not the person who calls to say, ‘I’m having an affair’; it’s the friend who calls to say, ‘Why do I have four jars of pickles in my refrigerator?’ ” I want someone with whom I can talk about the deep stuff—hopes and dreams and expectations and disappointments—and also the minutiae. Sometimes it takes talking about everything to get to the place where we can talk about nothing.

My mom was my "pickle person" - sounds like yours was the same kind of person for you. Pickles, dishwashers, it's all the same idea.

Hang in there.