Talking air conditioners and people-less dishwashers

I was sitting at my desk typing yesterday when I heard voices talking right next to me. There was absolutely no one around yet the voices were right next to me carrying on a conversation with each other. I could understand everything they were saying. I have never been diagnosed as psychotic, but I understand that one hears voices. Yep, these were voices alright. All of a sudden the air conditioner next to my desk kicked on and I could no longer hear the voices. Strange! I shut the air conditioner off so I could hear them again because I wanted to know where they were coming from. Once I got near the air conditioner, I could tell the voices were coming through the vents in the air conditioner. Somehow the people in the street below were positioned in such a way that the air conditioner was a conduit for their voices. Whew! What a relief!

This reminded me of the time we had a 30-year-old young man from the Caribbean stay with us while he went to the community college near our home. Hewitt had lived on a 10 x 15 mile island his whole life. He had never been off the island. When he flew to the United States to live with us, he was in major land shock. He had never traveled so far (from Philadelphia to Williamsport) and not run into water. He said, “Man, this country is BIG! You can go and go and go and you never run out of land.” Well, the voices in the air conditioner made me think of what happened shortly after his arrival. We were running the dishwasher after dinner and  I found Hewitt lying on the kitchen floor looking up under the dishwasher. I was a bit puzzled, but figured he had simply lost something when he asked, “Who is washing the dishes in there?” I thought he was kidding until I realized he wasn’t and simply said, “There is no one in there. There is a spinning stainless steel arm thrusting water on the dishes and knocking the food off.” He  got up slapping his knee and chuckling, “You Americans, you think of everything!”

This was the first of many such instances as Hewitt became acquainted with America. He was like a joyful kindergarten child going off to school to make new friends and explore new worlds. His fascination with everything caused me to see my home, my neighborhood, my city, my state and my country with new eyes. Before Hewitt rode the escalator at the mall dozens of times up and down, up and down, I never thought how “marvelous and wonderful” it was. Some things, however, scared him because he didn’t understand them, like the time he ran in the house hollering, “Mom, mom the trees are dying. The trees are dying all over the city. Call someone quick.” I couldn’t understand what he meant so I had him take me outside and show me. He made a broad sweep with his hand to say, “Look at all the trees on this block. They are losing their leaves, and it is like this all over town.” Hewitt had never seen a deciduous tree. Once I explained it is a simple cycle in the trees’ lives, he was ok. Over time things and events became common and he settled in. He began to lose that child-like awe as he matured in his assessment of his new country. I, however, never lost my awe of him. This man, with only a 6th grade education, came to the United States to take remedial courses at the community college. That was in 1993. Today he has a Master’s Degree and works as a case manager for the rehabilitation of some of the toughest young people in Philadelphia.

My husband and I have been privileged to know some of the greatest people in the world. They are not household names, but they are people who made the most of every opportunity they were given and are paying it forward. Hewitt is at the top of our list. Every now and then as I go about my day, something will happen, like an air conditioner “talking”, that transports me back in time to precious people like Hewitt and the memories I have of time spent with them.

Blessed beyond what I deserve,



4 comments on “Talking air conditioners and people-less dishwashers

  1. Dawn, there are times I think I’m going psychotic, too. I hear things that are not supposed to be there, and I’m on a mission to find it. Sound can carry in the oddest ways. I live in the country, and sometimes, if the wind is just right, it sounds like the people down the street must be in my yard. I can hear every word.

    Hewitt sounds like a very special person. What a privilege to have someone like this in your home and to experience all this with him! Isn’t it true that if we take the time to REALLY get to know a person that we find the hero within them that God sees???? There are so many unsung heros in my life. Or should I say, unthanked! As I have been going back through my life, the Lord has been showing me so many, many that have touched me in some way, leaving a lasting impression. I think as we begin to look for and see this in others, we begin to want the Lord to use ourselves in the same way, and to make changes that will have positive impacts in the lives of those around us. Thank you, Dawn, for a very precious and thought-provoking post!

    • Dear Cora,

      Hewitt is indeed a special young man. I have been privileged to meet such young people all along the way in my life. It’s been a pleasure to have invested my resources to make their dreams come true. Especially since I have been able to actually see their successes. Some invest their money in faraway places and do not know what becomes of those they’ve provided for. I have been able to witness incredible miracles watching hard-working people reach for what they thought was unreachable when they are given the chance. There is no whining or complaining just lots and lots of hard work, ripping it out and starting again and again, and then more hard work. They are inspiring.

      One of the blessing I didn’t expect was to have my own children begin to do the same thing. Both of my married children invest in others’ lives. That is the best blessing of all, and I won’t be a bit surprised if the grandchildren do the same when their time comes. I never realized how big this all was when we started. You merely plant some little seed and, wow, a mighty oak grows!

      God bless you, Cora,

  2. I will always remember Hewitt and the dishwasher! That is great!
    I will also remember that we must always watch what we say because sometimes like your air conditioner there is someone listening that we are not aware of. I want my thoughts and my words to always honour God and make ‘Him’ famous!
    Thanks for sharing Dawn… I am still chuckling about the dishwasher!

    While I lived in Mexico years ago (in the 70’s), my sister and her family came to visit. I made a fresh squeezed orange juice each morning for everyone with a device that stood on the counter; you would place the orange half in it and pull a lever down and the juice would squeeze out into a glass. After watching so intently my Seven year old nephew asked, “What was that?”
    I said, “Orange juice.”
    He said, “Ewww, yucky!!! Ours comes out of a can!”
    He watched his two brothers drink it ravenously for three days before he would try it and once he had, it was all he wanted throughout the day!

    I love new adventures and discoveries and it is so fun to watch others when they hit upon something wonderously new!
    I know our Lord also smiles big when we come upon one of His special gifts for us each day… I am not sure how many we miss but I know He is blessed for each one we discover…
    Blessings Dawn

    • Dear Susan,

      I had many humorous moments getting Hewitt acclimated to the United States. He was such a humble, man, too, and never felt less of a man if he didn’t understand something so he was a good study. I learned much about servanthood and grace by watching him deal with his “new” life. I want to send him my blog address for this posting so he can reminisce along with me.

      Thanks for sharing my joy,

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