At two-thirty in the morning, during the extreme heatwave last week, I awoke to a strange sound coming from the bathroom. I sat on the tub, shut the door, and listened intently. It was a loud, unidentifiable noise which stopped when I tightened the faucet. And when I turned the faucet back on, a burst of air came out. I would have thought the well ran dry, but we have city water so I figured that was unlikely.
I woke my husband who stumbled out of bed to investigate. Nothing but air was flowing through all of the water pipes and out of each of the faucets. The inconveniences were immediately apparent as the toilets would not flush, and my dog suddenly became insatiably thirsty at this odd hour. We called the water company’s emergency number, and they said they would send someone out. They must have worked through the night because before noon the next day the water was back on. But during those less than twelve hours we got a glimpse of what life is like without running water. It is a blessing that we simply do not appreciate. It is a blessing that much of the world still does not possess.
Back in 1992, the year my youngest daughter was born, our family experienced another water inconvenience. A local gas station’s old tanks leaked gasoline into the town’s water supply, and a chemical (now a known carcinogen) was present in the drinking water. The town’s response was to direct all the inhabitants across town with jugs to fill at a small outdoor pump. We were told that we could use the water to shower, clean, etc. as long as we did so in well-ventilated areas because inhaling the chemicals was harmful. That sounded absolutely absurd to me, so I ended up lugging something like 20 gallons of water daily to use for cooking, showering, drinking, etc. Friends and relatives marveled at my diligence and valor. It’s kind of funny thinking about it now. I “lugged” the one gallon water jugs from the pump about 6 feet to my vehicle and vice versa at the house. It wasn’t like I walked miles in the sweltering heat with no shoes and a 20 gallon jug on my head!
There are days when gratitude seems difficult. I’d rather wallow in my own self-pity than to take an honest look at the blessings in my life. Running water has become something that I expect -- something I’ve always had so I presume I always will have. What a terribly selfish and small attitude. The Internet provides opportunities for me to expand my mind and my horizon to get a glimpse of the struggles the rest of the world endures. Today I will remember to appreciate the simple blessings in life and to not overlook those things which have somehow become expectations. I will expand my little world to include others on the planet who are less fortunate. And I will do my part to reach out in any way that I can to improve the life of another.