world water day 2013

March 22, 2013

Two years ago, just before Thanksgiving, I felt a strong urging to write the word “water” on a chalkboard in my kitchen.

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I’ve never erased it.

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One of my closest friends asked me about the word last week. And I did a super lousy job of explaining it to her.

You see, we were having a dinner party that night. I had fussed for an entire week over clean bathrooms and food menus and table settings and other incredibly important details like that. I was very busy.

In fact, I’m pretty sure at the precise moment she asked me about the word, I had just filled ten tall glasses to the very brim with ice cubes and fresh, clean water right from the filtered dispenser in the front of my refrigerator.

Water.

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Thirst quenching, body nourishing, life sustaining water right from my very own refrigerator in my kitchen in my house in my neighborhood in my country of America.

What I wish I had said to her was that I leave that word there so that I will see it every time I pour a drink or make a pot of coffee or boil a pot on the stove or wash dishes in my kitchen using water. What I meant to say is that I promise I will never again take water for granted. What I wanted to say is that I will always remember that having access to this clean drinking water means the very difference between life and death for me and for my family.

What I need to confess right now – to you – is that I still often forget that I have this completely undeserved blessing in my life and that I have needed to be reminded for the past two and a half years of this fact by reading the same single word written in my own chalky handwriting on a little blackboard in my kitchen about my personal responsibility to conserve it

every single day.

Today is the 20th anniversary of World Water Day.

The U.N. estimates that more than one in six people worldwide do not have access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning.

Tonight, I will remember.  Tonight, I will give thanks. Tonight, I will think of all the “others” who do not have safe water.

And I pray that I will match tonight’s compassion with much more responsible action tomorrow…

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