Last week the doorbell rang on a Monday morning and by the time I corralled the baby and the dog to answer it, there was simply a notice hanging on the doorknob.
There was a water boil advisory, in which our whole street needed to boil any tap water before using it for drinking, washing dishes, cooking, or brushing teeth. They would let us know in three days if it was lifted or extended.
I glanced at the dirty dishes on the counter as I thought about all the ways this was going to cramp my style for the next few days. And all of a sudden I was very, very thirsty. ;) Questions ran through my mind, like what do I do with the ice machine in our freezer? What about the dishes I just ran through a cycle in the dishwasher? All of a sudden it felt like I use water for everything!!
But as I dragged my two big soup pots onto the stove and started boiling, a part of me got giddy-excited that I was like Laura Ingalls Wilder and all those great pioneer women (ha! except they got their water from a creek while I simply turned on the tap!).
Our advisory only lasted two days, but it certainly made me think and ponder! What a great, unexpected Lenten exercise. The Lord took away something I take for granted and I realized how much I need to be grateful for the huge gift of daily clean tap water.
When my husband and I were in Haiti, we visited a 'tent city', where thousands and thousands still lived in makeshift tents after the hurricane years ago. Water was brought in weekly on a truck and small rations given to each family. Water was precious and scarce to them, yet how often I don't think twice about running the faucet, spilling water, or how quickly I can satisfy my thirst.
Another thing I noticed was how much more intentional and purposeful I was with my water use during the advisory. It took a lot of effort to boil those two pans so I was all about conserving when I washed dishes and I found myself truly focusing on the act of washing dishes and the amount of soap and water. It also took focus not to accidentally turn on the faucet to rinse the dishes, so it caused me to stay simple and stay in the present moment...and I found that I actually (almost?) liked the (soothing?) task of washing dishes.
Finally, I realized that I've been a little whiny about how much time I spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, and how difficult that is with a baby (womp womp). But adding the need to constantly boil water took that to a whole new level. When the advisory was lifted, it was actually a treat to be in the kitchen and it seemed so fast and easy to cook and clean, haha. Oh, perspective.
As much as I admire and love to read about pioneer women, and to pretend I have that same strength and stamina within me, I have to admit there was a lot of rejoicing and relief when they lifted the water advisory. That being said, I'm so thankful for the ways it caused me to slow down and be grateful for a gift I use daily and so often take for granted.