Posted by: Kara Luker | April 1, 2013

The deeper meaning of a broken vacuum

DysonWe got a high-end vacuum as a wedding gift that was specifically designed to contend with animals, like our freakish fur factory of a dog. The vacuum was nice, no doubt about it, but it was finicky from the beginning. Sometimes it would start immediately, as you would expect of any vacuum (expensive or not), but usually it required a little coaxing – perhaps a few extra taps of the power button, a prayer, some begging, or the occasional harsh word. Spending so much time on my relationship with this household appliance did not bring me joy, but we were working things out.

Until it wouldn’t start at all. I stuck the useless betraying machine in the hall closet and hoped it would get into a better space. In the meantime, I redistributed the fur on the hardwood floors with a broom and pretended there were not untold things gathering on the carpets. Finally, I did what any sane person might have done at the first sign of trouble, and called the company that made the darn thing.

Within two minutes, a kind person had not only apologized for the inconvenience, but had submitted a request to a local shop where our vacuum – which was still under warranty – would be repaired for free. Two days later, my very nice vacuum was returned in perfect working order at no cost to me. It was a simple fix that was easily diagnosed. And I had waited a year because….?? Well, because I had assumptions that the issue was somehow normal. Or it would work itself out. Or maybe my warranty had expired. But not one of my assumptions was true. The serial number that verified my warranty was on my vacuum (albeit in a secret place that required genius to find), and the rest followed with incredible ease.

While this process clearly reveals my utter dysfunction as a housewife, it also points to the way I handle other things in my life that aren’t working quite right – bad habits, broken mindsets, and tweaked emotions. I make similar assumptions, like it’s just the way it is. Or it will work itself out in time. Or it’s not as bad as it could be. So I develop complicated relationships with my sin and hope for the best. After all, it’ll probably work itself out in time… and it’s really not as bad it could be.

But is it as good as it could be? Am I thinking and functioning and feeling the way I was designed to think and function and feel? If not, I have a couple of options. The first is to continue creating inconvenient and inconsistent work-arounds, like I did with my pain-in-the-butt vacuum. I’ve recently determined this to be a crappy approach. The other is to get fixed or, better yet, transformed so I’m able to live my life fluidly and freely, without encumbrances. Then I’ll be able to fulfill the purpose for which I was created, and God will be able to use me as easily as I now use my vacuum.

The second option is more easily accomplished than I sometimes anticipate. I already have my identity as a lovingly created child of God (which is as specific as a serial number but way more personal – and far simpler to find), and my lifetime warranty provided by the cross of Christ (which covers anything and everything I will ever encounter). My only responsibilities in the whole deal are to recognize that something is broken and to call on God to help me. He works out the rest or directs me how to do it. So many problems that I’ve magnified and dragged out have been quick fixes. I’ve kicked myself for not acting on them sooner. There have also been some major repairs that required the dismantling and rebuilding of my insides. I’ve kicked myself for not acting on those too. Because nothing has changed for the better by ignoring or managing it. And even when it’s not as bad as it could be, I’ve decided I’d rather have it as wildly good as it could be.


  1. This brilliant description of a life habit sounded so amazingly familiar, I smiled as I read until I realized I’m responsible for passing on that specific gene. I wonder if this also means crashing cars is also an inherited trait?

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