Thursday afternoon, with a loud grinding sound, our dishwasher decided it was time to retire and not complete any more washing cycles. After dinner, as I was washing the dishes by hand, I had a flashback to my high school days. The dishwasher had broken and Dad decided not to replace it immediately. With a family of seven, that meant there would be an “opportunity” to wash lots of dishes, glasses, silverware, pots and pans in the days ahead. We soon developed a plan to complete the job. Our brother and youngest sister usually cleared the table. Then each of the “three big girls” took a week at a time with one washing, one rinsing, and one drying and putting away the dishes. Each week we switched to the next part of the cycle.
One time when I was home from college, I remember asking Dad why he waited so long to replace the dishwasher. Besides teaching us responsibility, he said there were other lessons he knew we would learn. It was soon a rule that you needed to keep track of your glass and not get a new one every time you needed a drink. We quickly discovered how we could irritate each other, but even more we learned the value of cooperation. You see, complaining was not going to exclude us from the chore. We had two choices: we could be a happy camper or sad camper as we did the dishes. While cleaning the dishes, there were lots of conversations about what happened during our day, what we still needed to accomplish for the evening as well as our upcoming plans. We learned the value of giving the gift of time and effort when someone took another person’s responsibility if they had extra homework or a project they needed to complete. Entertainment and much laughter were the norm. For some reason, the nozzle on the sink “accidentally” sprayed people at times. Needless to say, the kitchen was extra clean on those days. There was definitely appreciation when the new dishwasher arrived.
The lessons learned from a broken dishwasher are still in practice. A few weeks ago, I had a big project that I knew would take me several days if I tried to complete it by myself. I called my two sisters, who live in town, to see if they would help. My youngest sister, Micki, already knew the supplies we would need and how to do the project since she had recently helped a friend do the same type of work. With Robin’s help, we were able to finish the work in just a few hours while enjoying spending time together. Dad would have been pleased with our cooperation in completing the task. I know our Heavenly Father is pleased when His children love each other and work together in peace. And by the way, without even asking, Larry dried and put away the dishes.
I Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.