Well, apparently I've been taking water for granted. I know this, now, because the other day we woke up to a sputtering faucet that went dry and sudden panic struck our home. No. Water. NO WATER?!? Then there is that sinking feeling that you have to call the landlord, find out what's going on, and anticipate the worst. Sure enough, some leak in some pipe somewhere needed fixing, so the water on our whole block was shut off for "probably all day" which almost always means "definitely all day and maybe longer".
Thank goodness we are "night showerers", so we all smelled relatively fine for not having water in our pipes. Still, the dirty dishes from the night before sat in the sink and we prayed our children wouldn't cause too huge of accidents throughout the day to dictate a need for a hosing-down (no promises). We were sort of pathetic. I mean, we still had our electricity! (Thank goodness!) But, you'd be surprised at how you just get in the habit of hitting that faucet or flushing that toilet or getting that drink...again and again I would totally forget, only to be frustrated and disappointed at the turn of the handle. Ugh! Where's my water!?
Finally, Josh ran down to our local grocery store and picked up a couple jugs. Our day seemed brighter as we could now brush our teeth and pretend we were camping in our own home (this is about as close to camping as the Pardys get anyway). We adapted easily to pouring water into cups or tapping the giant jug's spout to wash up.
And that's when it hit me: I've totally been taking water for granted.
Yes, we all do, I suppose. We live in a country where we can shower multiple times a day if we feel like it. We can boil water to cook with the ease of turning a handle. We can even play in water for sport or fun and not think anything of it. And then, we are reminded from time to time that there are others less fortunate. We see an ad at Christmas of a little African village you can donate to. We hear about friends raising funds for missions that are going to build a well somewhere. We may even give up drinking anything but water for lent so we can do our part for social justice.
But, there's nothing like just being home, and watching your little girl pretend to be a dolphin in her tub of suds to make you stop and be thankful, so thankful, for water. I know it sounds simple, silly maybe, but that's what got me. I don't have to walk for my water. I don't have to dig for it or haul it in buckets. I don't have to wonder where my next glass of water will come from to quench my thirst. And you know, that's okay. I'm not here to say "Feel bad for being privileged" or "give to this organization" or whatever. (Though certainly you know of one already that is worthwhile and if this stirs you...give!) But none of those movements mean anything without starting with one simple step: be grateful.
I watch Matilda take her bath with sheer joy and completely free of worry. She dunks her belly in, splashes about, spits on her own toes, and plummets her tub toys in and out between the bubbles and suds that surround her. She loves bath time, and it's a good thing since she needs one nearly daily! And it humbled me to go without water for one day (not even 24 hours!) to be able to stop and recognize how ridiculously blessed we are to have it.
Water is such a simple substance, yet so essential to our lives. So essential that we are greatly debilitated to go without it, even here in my privileged little bubble. I will never know the pains some have had to endure to have to get their water through difficult, even dangerous, means. I know it is a great need that truly only our God can provide and solve. But, I can do something daily to help my perspective, to help keep my focus in the right direction...every time I turn that little knob, I can be grateful, and pray for those who don't have it so easy. I can do that. It doesn't require any monthly pledge. It doesn't pressure me into giving up something (though, probably I should). It doesn't come with any guilt over what to do about an issue you or I most likely won't solve ourselves.
The truth of the matter is that most of us are home, taking showers and sipping coffee we probably won't even finish. Most of us are busy and forgetful and only feel bad when we hear stories of poverty. So, it's easier to turn up the music, play with our iPhones, click on the tv and take our kids to the park and most of the time not stop and think about how others are struggling to survive the day. That is the brutal reality.
yes, I washed my sink just for this photo
So, if you are like me, and you aren't planning any missions trips anytime soon, or you can't dig any wells for a village somewhere or you are just not even sure where to start with it all...start here: be grateful, pray for others. And one more...stay thirsty. Thirsty to help where and when we can. Thirsty to seek out opportunity if it presents itself. Thirsty to follow where God leads us to give. Thirsty to stay reminded of how blessed we all are.
Yes, maybe with enough hope and heart we can change the world with God's help. Maybe our children will find the solution or even their children's children. But, in the meantime, while we're busy updating our Facebook and turning on another Yo Gabba Gabba...let's start with just teaching our children to know the truth and to say thanks for something as simple as water. And, the next time my water gets turned off unexpectedly, maybe I'll be able to respond with a little more humility and a little less frustration. Here's hoping.
**Please, if you know of a legit charity that helps provide water to those in need, list it in the comments below! I'd love to help give a shout-out to those actively making a difference.