Have you ever had one of those appliance cycles?
You know, the time when the entire house decides that it's time to quit on you.
It's been one of those weeks all month long.
It had been building. Our electric fans had been less and less reliable, even though I had lubricated them...I knew they wouldn't last long. Finally, they stopped altogether and I had to have all three of them fixed.
House with no fans in tropics = not good for family life. Bushings replaced on two of them. Bushing and capacitor on the other. Wow. Bushings are more expensive than I thought...but still way cheaper than buying a new fan.
But I really noticed it when our electric water heater broke. Where we live, you don't have hot running water. A 'water heater' over here is a little electricity-sucking box that you stick in your bathroom so that you can have a semi-warm shower. And, sometimes even when the water isn't that hot you get warmed up anyway by getting shocked by the silly thing. Because as any high-school graduate can tell you, never mix electricity and showers in the same space.
Anyway, the heater broke, and so I finally broke down and bought a new one. I broke down quickly, because I knew that I would have a full-scale family rebellion on my hands, led by my beautiful wife if I didn't get one quick. (Just kidding, hon.)
So, I removed the broken heater, and started drilling holes to install the new one, and yup, my trusty Black & Decker cordless started blowing black smoke out of both sides. Yes, I appreciated the irony. One of my most expensive tools decided to break while I was trying to fix one of our most expensive appliances.
The DVD player just broke this week, (which actually might not be a bad thing...though the kids might disagree) and I better type this fast cuz maybe the computer is next.
Along with that, our towels are starting to smell like they've been in the tropics for four years, and our tupperware has lost almost all of their ant-resistant sealing capabilities. Apparently, it's about time for furlough.
I'm sure you've been there....sometimes stuff just decides to go all at once.
But it's been a good reminder for me---when it comes to stuff.
Frankly, all the stuff that broke and started getting smelly was important, but all of it was finite, replaceable, and honestly not THAT important. It was stuff. It was Expendable.
What we can afford to replace, we will replace. What we can't replace, we learn to live without. Or we pick out the ants, and deal with towels that smell like my high school gym locker. But my kids and wife are the Unexpendables---and in the spin cycle of life, appliances will come and go, but I have one shot at making it work with my family.
Thankfully, this time the fans are fixed, we have a new hot water heater, and one of these days my Black & Decker might stop kicking out black smoke. But no matter how nice that stuff is, it's all Expendable, and non-essential.
Taking care of my kids, wife, the rest of my family and doing our ministry here---that's what really matters. Because my family is Unexpendable. And so are the people we are here to help.
If you make a column chart with "Expendable" on one side, and "Unexpendable" on the other side, which list is longer? and more importantly, on which side of the list are you putting your heart, your soul, and the best hours of your days and nights?
We have to work, we have to provide, and that takes time. But where is our focus?
What's on your list? And if you really think about it, which side of the list defines your life?