Saturday, June 20, 2009

fixing a fridge

My friend had a fridge meltdown last week - literally. He called me to tell me that everything in his freezer had melted, there was water dripping over the food in his fridge, and the motor kept turning off and on erratically. Since he was on his way out for the evening, I told him I would come over the next day to see what was going on. I mentioned that if he kept the fridge door closed, his food should be alright until then.

I like fixing small things around the house and enjoy the challenge of making something right that was not working before, so sometimes my friends call me up when they have a problem. When I got off the phone, I researched fridge issues on the internet and found that this particular problem might be the result of dirty coils which were affecting the performance of the compressor. There was an easy solution. However, if this didn't work, he would have to ask his landlord for a new refrigerator, which might turn out to be a bit of an ordeal since the corporation he pays his rent to is not known for their attentiveness to their tenants' needs.

The next day, I packed up my supplies and did my impersonation of a refrigerator repair woman. His particular fridge looks like something straight out the 50's. It is an apartment size model and has a tiny freezer compartment within the fridge. The bottom shelf is missing and some of the storage compartments lack their original hardware. The freezer is small to begin with, and as time goes on, it becomes caked with frost and diminishes even further in size. Nevertheless, it is clean and reliable and does the job, at least it has until now.

I cleaned the coils and the compressor at the back of his fridge. Surprisingly, they weren't that dirty. After an hour or so of work, we laid hands on the appliance, said a quick prayer and plugged the fridge back in. The motor started, then immediately shut off. Oh well. Plan B. Contact the landlord and hope we get some action.

We went downstairs to the superintendent's apartment and to our surprise, he was at home. My friend explained the situation and the tall man said he would see if he had another fridge around somewhere and perhaps deliver it tomorrow. Well, that seemed too easy!

The next day when my friend returned home from work, a new fridge was standing in his kitchen. Well, new to him at least, and definitely newer than the last one. This new model was also apartment-sized and boasted all its original shelves PLUS a separate freezer compartment nearly double the size of the old one. It was an upgrade in every which way: colour, features, size, and looks! The broken fridge had been a blessing in disguise!

Sometimes I think I try too hard to fix up something that is not working. I tweak and clean and take it apart and push everything back into place and sometimes even replace a few parts to get a bit more life out of it. Duct tape will keep it together for a few more days. Another screw will keep it from falling apart. A good cleaning will prolong its life for a bit. Why am I so reluctant to let the old crap go? When its time is done, when I see the telltale signs that it is breathing its last breath, why do I insist on spending a lot of time and energy and sometimes resources on making it last just a bit longer? (I am not talking about human beings here, don't worry.)

When God comes into a situation, he makes everything new (Revelation 21:5). He doesn't fix up the old stuff in order to squeeze another month out of it. He replaces it with something way better, something that carries his life (which get better with time) instead of my death (which causes things to deteriorate over time). Let me not hesitate to trade in my broken junk for the the new stuff, the stuff that comes from Jesus and carries his vitality and character and lifeblood and not a whiff of the stench of decay. That's a trade that is always worth it.

This is my refrigerator with a fridge magnet from Australia.

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