Jan Smith – November 26, 2008
I recall a story once about a young woman who was showing off her new kitchen to her grandmother. The kitchen was bright and spacious, and had all the latest gadgets and appliances.
After taking it all in, the older woman asked her granddaughter to name the one thing in the kitchen she appreciated the most. The young woman surveyed the room, then pointed to one of the fancy, new appliances. Then she asked in reply, “How about you, Grandma. Which one would you pick?”
Without so much as a moment of hesitation, the grandmother replied, “Oh, I’d pick running water every time.”
I thought of that story the other night when we had a problem that meant shutting off the water for 12 hours. We don’t realize how much we take the “background” things for granted until we lose them. For instance, after working on cleaning up the mess for some time, I took a break and went to wash my hands at the kitchen sink. I pushed up the handle on the faucet. Nothing came out. Oh right… no water. that meant I couldn’t get a drink of water either. It also meant I couldn’t flush the toilet. And there’s no outhouse out in the back yard.
There’s an episode of M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye falls for a Korean woman whose family had been well-to-do before the war. As she described how she and her family now lived, the woman told of carrying water from a well a mile away.
Shocked, Hawkeye responded, “You carry water from a mile away? How can you do that?“
With a smile and a sigh of resignation, the woman replied, “That’s where the water is.”
Like the younger woman in the story above, we don’t even think about things like water. It’s just there, part of the background. Until, that is, we suddenly don’t have it.
One of the things I pray for is that I would never ever lose the sense of gratitude for even the simplest things of life. One of the ways I practice that is by recalling the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote:
“For I have learned, in whatever situation I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
Contentment and gratitude are similar in that both must be learned. I had an opportunity to learn that again the other night.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!