I ushered in last Monday morning laying on the hard, cold tile of my bathroom floor sorely battling a stomach flu. The same morning my husband left for a week long trip out of the country. I spent the first part of this week recovering in bed, and the latter part cleaning the house. When every muscle in my body stopped aching, I began the grueling process of disinfecting every surface of the house, and I lost count of the loads of laundry I’ve done. And I haven’t even touched the upstairs.
I carried the burden of a to-do list with a less-than-up-to-it body, but I never carried water or the burden of not enough.
This morning I woke up with lips that were cracked and rough — a tell-tale sign my body is craving water. I’ve been mindful of staying hydrated, but have little thought for how. Just drink water. I have a case of bottles in my laundry room, and an endless supply from every faucet in the house.
A week prior to my getting sick, I was awake at all hours of the night and early morning, twice. First, nursing one of my daughters. Second, my son who battled the same stomach flu I inevitably contracted. You can imagine the routine, which included catch-buckets and lots of trips to the bathroom.
In between bouts, washing, and prayer I would say, “Please drink water. Please stay hydrated. Small sips, but please drink.”
I know the dangers of dehydration. I worried about them not drinking, but never once did I worry about not having a drink to provide.
A few months ago, while our barn was getting a new bathroom added, the worker turned off the main water supply to the house. I lived unawares of the countless number of times in an hour I turn the kitchen faucet on and fresh, clean water flows on command through pipes from a well two-hundred feet from our house — until there was none.
It was hours before our water was turned back on. Dishes piled high in the sink. Toilets were near clogged and couldn’t be used. Counters in the kitchen remained caked with remnants from breakfast and lunch, and I worried about the children eating with germ-ridden fingers.
But it was only a few hours, and then everything was back to normal. My normal doesn’t include worrying about access to clean, potable water.
Yet, millions around the world cannot say the same.
- Today, over 780 million people lack access to clean drinking water.
- This year alone, 3.5 million people will die because they lack clean water, sanitation, and proper hygienic practices.
- 443 million hours of school are lost annually by children affected by the results of contaminated water.
- Worldwide, women and girls spend over 200 million hours collecting water.
Even though I’ve seen the devastating effects first-hand, and even held them in my arms, I forget the rest of the world when I’m all wrapped up in mine. And, I don’t want to. Just in case you are tempted to think I carry guilt, I do not.
Rather, I purpose to cultivate gratitude.
Gratitude motivates me to want to give what I’ve been given. From a heart of gratitude, generosity is born. It’s how it works, friend, but it has to be on purpose.
When we realize what we’ve been given, receive it without taking it for granted, but rather with gratefulness. Then we understand we weren’t meant to simply be consumers, but givers.
Need is all around us. We don’t have to look very far to see, we just have to see. But just in case your heart was moved, and you’d like to donate to help provide a clean water well in a place where mothers and fathers and children have none — give to World Help’s CauseLife.
“Together, we can succeed in providing clean-water sources . . . in ending this World Water Crisis. But it begins with compassion, a compassion that leads to action, an action fueled by a desire to bring real hope to those who desperately cling to it.” — Allyn Lyttle
Allyn’s quote came a Water Essay | Through the Lens … Check it out.