Rooms 451-453: Hug Your Broken Microwave
I believe we have one of the first microwaves ever made. It predates cellphones and computers. But in our small kitchen it fits like a glove underneath a certain cabinet, and unless we want to redecorate the entire kitchen, there's not another microwave that will fit in that tiny space.
So we keep it.
And this is in spite of the fact that we lost the numbers 4, 6 and 9 years ago. While challenging, it was doable. But then six months ago we lost the 3, 8 and 7, which was sadly followed by the 2 a few weeks later.
Now, we are left with a microwave that has 5 and 0 as the only usable measurements of time, which logically means that anything we microwave happens at 5 seconds, 50 seconds or 5 minutes. Yes, there are rare times when the 9 comes back to life, but those are miracle moments. “Come see the 9,” I can hear my wife yell from the other room.
Much of our house is like that. Knobs that have to be turned a certain way to work, windows that will never entirely shut, faucets that need to be sweet talked. And seeing as how I only have one screwdriver in the garage, much of this will stay the way it is, which is why I'm always encouraging my wife to go online and meet someone nice—nice and handy that is.
What can I say? We live in a house that creaks and cracks like any 1938 house will do when it's owned by a man whose hands are soft and delicate, and who doesn’t like to spend his Saturday power-hosing the walls.
But just the same, I love everything about our house. It’s clean, comfortably decorated and has its own cobwebish charm. Sure, we’d love a bigger backyard and a kitchen that fits more than two people, but I also know that’s a first world problem and there are countless others who would love any home at all, or their own bedroom, or a lawn, or running water.
I’m grateful for my house and for the 0 and 5 on my microwave, hanging on for dear life, while reminding me that not having a fully functional microwave might be the universe’s way of saying stop nuking the nutrients out of your food in the first place.
Of course, I’d by lying if I said we wouldn’t replace the microwave in 5 seconds if we could. But, we can’t. And that’s not the point. The point is that we make it work and will continue to make it work until we get down to 0. But making it work isn’t just about living with broken-down crap. It’s about finding value and appreciation for things we thought were out of date and past their prime. It’s finding charm and usefulness in the old and beat up stuff in our lives.
It’s also about choosing how we will see our world.
Rooms 451-453: Hug Your Broken Microwave
This is a very quick and uncomplicated room. It’s a room that happens in a blink of an eye. But in that blink your whole world can change.
We all have something broken in our lives—something ready for the curb. And yes, there are plenty of times when we should toss out the old to make way for the new. And yes, we shouldn’t let our homes go to the dogs. And sometimes that ratty old shirt from college deserves to be turned into a rag.
But sometimes those things we believe have passed their prime deserve a second chance. Not just a fresh coat of paint, but a new set of eyes.
This room is about using those eyes and finding character and meaning from the things we think have lost their meaning. This room is about transforming our old, out-of-date stuff into something entirely brand new. And we do so with a deep appreciation for what they bring to our lives.
It's like in the movie “It's A Wonderful Life”. George Bailey, the main character, has spent much of the movie berating his life and his broken-down, leaky house that represents everything he's missed in life, all the missed opportunities he never took. And perfectly symbolic of this is how every time he grabs onto the ball post at the bottom of the staircase railing, it comes off of his hand.
And towards the end of the movie, when he learns to see things for their real value, and realizes how beautiful his life really is, he picks up the broken ball post on his staircase and kisses it. In the blink of an eye, what once used to represent how broken down his life was, is now a symbol of everything he has—a beautiful home and the family and friends to share it.
All it took was a change of vision. Something old is seen with new eyes and a deep appreciation for its value.
That’s all this room is.
Step out this week and hug something old and broken down. Take something past its prime and breathe new energy and life into it. Appreciate the stains, the ripped, faded and shredded. See character in dents and value in flaws. I know it’s easy to see them as eye-sores, but it’s much more rewarding to see them as a collective tapestry that has made up your life.
Instead of replacing something or resenting it, reinvent it and spin it so that it brings renewed value to your life. That could be your microwave, your car, your couch, or your spouse. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you see your world with eyes that know how to appreciate something for its real value, purpose and beauty.
Don't give up on something because it's lost its luster, or the expiration date has expired.
Something is perfect not because it’s new, untouched and shiny.
It’s perfect because you see it as perfect.
This simple awareness can change your life.
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