Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away – actually, Germany – there was a sleek, shiny, stainless steel dishwasher. This was a special dishwasher – he had not one, not two, but three racks for washing dishes. And he just knew that he was made to wash dishes. One day, as he was sitting in the warehouse waiting for someone to come in and buy him, he was pondering his life purpose.
“I just know I’m made to wash dishes,” he thought. “My beautiful water sprayers, my perfect hoses, my sleek and fancy dishwashing racks – yes, everything about me says that I was made to wash dishes. My hope – my dream, my only desire in life is to wash dishes. But here I sit on a shelf, totally unused and apparently unwanted. What is my maker thinking? Why did he fit out me so perfectly to wash dishes then leave me on the shelf like this?”
“Patience,” a voice answered him. He hadn’t realised that he was thinking out loud. “Patience,” it said again, and this time he recognized the voice of Aldert, an older dishwasher sitting on the shelf in front of him.
“Every dishwasher is sold sometime,” Aldert continued. “The master dishwasher builder does not make a dishwasher to no purpose. He always puts them to his purposes in his time. But if you are to find the perfect fit with the perfect people for you, you must be patient. Who knows, you may be taken to a home where you will wash more dishes than any of us – but you must be patient.”
Watler sighed. He believed it was true, since almost all the dishwashers who had been there before he was were gone, and even some of the ones that had come in after him. He sat back and waited.
Then one day, I heard strange voices talking. They were talking in German, but here is a rough translation of what they said:
“I think it’s the dishwasher on shelf A52,” the first voice said.
“Why are we supposed to ship a single dishwasher off to North America? Usually we ship in bulk from the warehouse down south, don’t we?”
“Yes, but they ran out of this model in North America, and someone ordered one, so rather than waiting for the whole shipment, we’re sending one solo.”
The voices were growing louder, and suddenly two men appeared in front of Watler. They glanced him up and down, checked model numbers and other worthless jargon, and finally inspected his fine stainless steel front, and checked that his beautiful racks were all in place. Then they packaged him up, and loaded him on a truck.
“Hooray!” thought Watler. “I’m finally going! I wonder if I’ll be at my home tomorrow. I was made to wash dishes, I just know it. And finally, finally, finally! I’m going! I’ll be washing dishes soon!” A tear of joy escaped from one of his pipes.
For the rest of the day, Watler was excited. He was at last going to the home where he could wash dishes! He just knew that the master builder had meant for him to wash dishes – he could feel it in his buttons. But imagine his disappointment when the truck stopped, dropped him off in another warehouse, and left him there for not one, not two, but three days!
At the end of the third day, Watler’s pipes were boiling. He was made to wash dishes, and someone who didn’t know better had left him in the warehouse as though he had been nothing but a sink or garbage can. Suddenly, though, the words of Aldert came to his mind:
“The master dishwasher builder does not make a dishwasher to no purpose. He always puts them to his purposes in his time.”
Then, when he thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Someone came and picked him up, and started bringing him toward the ocean. Then he descended into a dark, stuffy hole, and was dumped next to a supercomputer on one side, with a server rack on the other side. What boring companions! But in this dismal hole, packed beside worthless junk that was made to do nothing but process bytes that you couldn’t taste and bits that wouldn’t wash off, Watler truly learned the secret of contentment. He learned to trust that the master builder truly did have a plan for him, and that in his perfect time, everything would come together as it ought.
To tell Watler’s whole story would take far too long, because even after that long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, there were more lessons in patience. But probably the most trying lesson in patience came the day that Watler was sitting in the living room of the house of the person who had bought him.
“At last!” he thought, nearly crying he was so happy. “At last, the waiting is over! At last, I’ve arrived! And look at those stacks of dishes!” he gloated. But instead of putting him to work, the family simply unpackaged him, flipped him on his back, and left him sitting there helpless for a whole day. If he hadn’t learned patience yet, he would have been fuming again, but instead, he thought,
“I’m made to wash dishes. And I know that at the right time, in the right way, the master planner will make everything right.”
Finally, he was installed. The installers weren’t very experienced, and it took them nearly a day, but Watler didn’t mind. He was being installed in a brand new kitchen with lots of dishes around. Finally, he was being loaded. And at long last, he was started. But once again, tragedy struck. Only half way through his cycle, suddenly, he was brought to a screeching halt. Someone had pushed his power button! For half an instant, he wondered if it was all a big mistake, but then he remember the words of Aldert – “…you must be patient.”
After a few hours, he was started up again (of course, he remembered where he was in the process), and was allowed to finish his first batch of dishes in peace. He went to sleep that night a very happy and fulfilled dishwasher – with many dishes promised to be coming his way. As he dropped off, he thought,
“So this is why! The master dishwasher maker sent me to this home, knowing that I was specially outfitted to wash lots of dishes. Truly, his plans are best!”
Now let me telll you part of this story from another perspective…
How many of you guys like plumbing? I mean, really like plumbing? I must confess, I’m one of those happy individuals for whom the sight of water pouring out of the top of a drain pipe isn’t a terror which brings to mind dark imaginations of hours of fighting with filthy tools down dark holes. That being said… it’s still not my absolute favourite thing to spend my evenings on. However, when it comes to installing a dishwasher on plumbing that has been out of service for some 6-7 years, sometimes you have no choice…
It all started around 6-7 years ago, when our dishwasher broke down. Our serviceman declared it irreparable, and thus it stood, unused – except for a variety of unconventional usages, such as storing dishtowels, hiding anniversary gifts, pulling parts off of, and even hiding the dishes once to make them look like they were already done. (Believe it or not, this was actually a good faith joke, not naughtiness.)
Whatever the case, when we came to do the kitchen renovation which the faithful reader has already ascertained that we were recently doing, one of the items on our agenda was to replace the dishwasher. Now, you have to understand that I hate dishwashers. Or rather, I love washing dishes. But even I had to admit that this dishwasher, if nothing else, looked nice – because I also happen to like the looks of stainless steel kitchen appliances.
So at it went we! We had left a hole so that it could simply slip into the “peninsula” (an outlying section of counter attached to the rest only by one end) once the plumbing was connected. We hooked up the plumbing and wiring with no major issues, et voilà! It was ready to roll. Or… so we thought.
We turned it on, and nothing was leaking, so my father started attaching the back panel, and I attached the front panel. We marveled at the silence of this silver coloured monster which was steam blasting our dishes. All was well until it came to its first drain cycle. Suddenly, someone noted an unprecedented aquatic accumulation in front and to the side of the silver monster. A quick job with a screw driver sufficed to remove the front panel, revealing water under the whole dishwasher. My father was equally busy moving out the back panel, revealing water underneath at the back as well.
We quickly deciphered from various telling signs that this water came not from the pure source of our well, but rather from the drain. We conjectured that it was probably spilling out the top of the drain pipe, since there appeared to be traces of water pouring down its sides. A minute’s worth of patience was sufficient to confirm the hypothesis: when the dishwasher commenced its next drain cycle, water instantly spewed from the drain pipe at a prodigious rate.
Being the geniuses we are, of course, we turned off the dishwasher. For those who still wonder at this step, please consider that though our kitchen was well sealed, it was not intended to be a fish pond – especially not with the remains of everyones’ suppers floating around in it. The whirring silver monster made no complaint concerning its unfortunate halt, patiently waiting for us to resolve the issues and allow it to resume its happy occupation of cleansing the dishes.
The first thing to do at this point was relatively clear: clean the P-trap. Happily, there was a cleanout valve at the end of drain pipe. I quickly opened it, not sure what to expect, and narrowly missed getting hit in the face with a stream of a thick black soupy liquid. Unfortunately, the freezer, floor, walls, bookshelf, garbage can, and desk underneath were not so blessed. (Neither were my hands, for the record.)
Those who read my previous plumbing post may remember our famous snake. It was the tool for the moment. It quickly showed us that the pipe was blocked for about 15-20 feet with what I call “6 years of accumulation of 3 trillion bacteria, sitting down there laughing at us.”
Several hours, several handwashings, and several discussions as to how to clean out the pipe later, we finally managed to get it unblocked enough that my father could send down some baking soda solution, followed with a heavy dose of vinegar – which effectively cleaned out the pipe, and allowed us to resume the dishwasher’s cycle.
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-14)
It was striking me as I thought over Watler’s plight that it is actually not unsimilar to the plight that many of us find ourselves in from day to day. We just know that God wants a particular thing for our lives. We know that He has designed us for a given purpose. That purpose may be marriage, a family, a ministry, or a thousand different things. We look at our hearts, we look at our skills, we look at who God has made us, and we wonder, just like Watler,
“My hope – my dream, my only desire in life is [xyz]. But here I sit on a shelf, totally unused and apparently unwanted. What is my Maker thinking? Why did He fit out me so perfectly to [xyz] then leave me on the shelf like this?”
Aldert’s exhortation actually rings true for me.
“The Master does not make a person to no purpose. He always puts them to His purposes in His time. But if you are to find the perfect fit with the perfect place for you, you must be patient.”