Sunday, May 28, 2006

On self-worth, and dishwashers

I believe...

  • I am worth more than the dishwasher I broke the other night
  • Love heals all wounds of the soul
  • Hugs and chocolate can save the world
  • If we listen, we can hear God laughing

I broke a dishwasher the other night. I had help: I was tickled, and fell over the open door, so that now it opens farther than it's supposed to. The Apostle in Exile and I fixed it with an empty flower pot. (It hardly ever washes dishes anyway; it's her drying rack.) She tickled me because I'd said I was sorry too many times for some other thing. I fell backwards, bouncing off the dishwasher door and landing on the floor. She checked to be sure I was okay. Then we laughed until we were both out of breath.

Later, I couldn't get over the idea that I was worth more than her dishwasher. I mean, I hadn't expected her to yell at me or anything. I'm not ten anymore, and we don't have that kind of relationship anyway. But she wasn't upset for a second, and I couldn't believe how that could be.

When I was a kid, my parents and I were time-sharing at their friends' cabin. I borrowed their daughter's bike. I fell off, and came home bleeding. My mother's response: "I hope the bike's all right." I don't think she even stopped washing dishes to look at me. I knew I was worth more than Emily's bicycle, and that her parents wouldn't likely freak if I had damaged it. I remember even trying to say so--a gutsy thing, then. But I grew up in a home where material things mattered more than people. I would never, and have never, treated anyone like that. I've worked a lot with kids, and began intentionally so I'd know that I wouldn't. But this sort of thing sticks with you.

The Apostle gave me lots of hugs and reassurance, and a couple days later I was beginning to get it. We had Haagen-Dazs triple chocolate ice cream to celebrate. I know that my work is to continue this love in other people. I'm certainly willing to tell anyone, "You are worth more than my dishwasher." But it's both incredibly grace-filled and incredibly silly that she needed to say that to me.

I'm getting it, though. I told her it was like a book I read on climbing Mt. Everest, which is an impossible and arduous place anyway, and you'd never want to be there. The hardest part of the climb, apparently, is the last hundred feet or so: not only are you freezing and oxygen-deprived, but it's suddenly steeper until you reach the top. That's where I am. It is not where I was, a week ago.

Thanks be to God.


Mimi said...

Ouch. I'm glad you are ok.

Not using the dishwasher, now that I don't understand...

Echo said...

Great post. It's a lesson I'm learning now, too. (badmutha)