A Toaster can talk? No! Of course not! Well … actually … sort of … in a manner of speaking. Ahem, please just read the post.
Our house seemingly lies still at night, but all is not at rest. Down in the kitchen it’s easy to imagine a party is in full swing. The clock on the range occasionally flashes and keeps time to the whispers, winks and furtive glances made by our appliances. No, we haven’t lost it. Although we may have overactive imaginations. Sometimes we just get inspired.
There’s an old Disney movie we enjoy, about a gang of appliances left behind in a summer cottage. When these anthropomorphic gadgets realize they’ve been long forgotten, they set out to find their master. Think Disney’s The Incredible Journey, only instead of two dogs and a Siamese cat, this time our heroes are a loudmouthed radio, a whiny electric blanket, a fairly bright desk lamp, a tough vacuum cleaner (named Kirby); and their intrepid leader, the eponymous hero of The Brave Little Toaster !
Before we knew it, we were naming all our appliances! We have a large antique-style radio we dubbed Orson, in honor of the early contributions made to the medium by Mr. Welles (famed writer/director/star of “the broadcast that shocked America,” The War of the Worlds); the kitchen range is “Sparky” (when we switch on one of his gas burners, he snaps at us and sparks to life); “Luke” and “Nuke” (twin microwave ovens that allow us to cook two frozen dinners at the same time!); and then there’s “Fridgie.”
We live in the woods, in a house we named Woodhaven, and we love the peace and quiet. Outside, our days amid the trees are filled only with the sounds of birds, our nights punctuated by the lonely calls of a whippoorwill. Inside, things are just a bit more lively: our computer hums softly to himself (Thats “Hal”; remember 2001: A Space Odyssey?); the printer (“Flash”) clicks and whirs; all to the accompaniment of the ticking, murmuring, gurgling and, sometimes, even groaning sounds of the appliances. All these sounds become far more noticeable at night. That’s usually the time when a house really starts to talk.
When we first got our new refrigerator, before we got used to what he wanted to tell us, we’d often awaken from a deep sleep thinking that someone was downstairs raiding the kitchen: Fridgie calls out to us like a distant foghorn shrouded in the night mist, gently reassuring us that he’s protecting our food from spoiling. Periodically he alerts us that there’s plenty of ice ahead (crescents, not bergs) for a glass of tea or soda, by periodically sounding off with an encouraging ker-chunk! Now, whenever we hear Fidgie talking in the middle of night, we just go back to sleep. We’ve come to recognize the sound of his voice!
Apart from learning just how silly we can be, you can glean another lesson from this story. Each day our appliances let us know exactly “what they’re about” as they go through their routines. All of our kitchen friends have discovered their voice! We all need to do the same.
Most of us have heard that writers are frequently admonished to “find your own voice.” Until they do, they tend to imitate the style of some other writer. Then, one day, everything finally seems to click, and a writer discovers his or her own unique voice! But we all need to find our voice, not just writers. That’s what makes life so wonderful: we’re not trying to be you, you’re not trying to be her, etc.
Apple innovator Steve Jobs once stated, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. …Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
When we sing, we each have our own key! We know who we are and what we’re about. We each discover our own, God-given voice. “Thank You [God] for making (each of us) so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous….” (Psalm 139:14 NLT)