We’ve been having some plumbing problems in our house that my husband was not able to fix, so it was time to call a plumber. Our appointment was for this morning, and since the water would be shut off for at least a few hours while he was working, we had some prep work to do.

I got up a bit earlier than usual to make sure I was showered and dressed before he showed up. I had an early breakfast, too, so I could brush my teeth and get the breakfast dishes washed. I left the kitchen sink filled with hot, soapy water for washing hands and soaking any other dishes or utensils we might use before the water was turned back on. After all, these things often end up taking much longer than originally planned. Finally, we filled the bathtub with a few inches of water so we’d have it for any other needs.

Since we had plenty of advance notice, this was only a minor inconvenience, with these tasks adding just a bit of extra work to our day. But the situation made me think of other cases, where much more is at stake.

Just a few days ago, for instance, I read that this year is expected to have an above-average hurricane season – which started on June 1 – with 14-21 named storms, 6-10 of which could become hurricanes, and 3-6 of them potentially becoming major hurricanes. Hurricane damage is much worse and longer-lasting than a few hours – or even a few days – of the water being turned off.

Whenever I’m in a situation like this – being without running water for a short period of time, or without electricity when a storm knocks out the power – I try to take some time to focus on how fortunate I am to have these things, and have them running smoothly, most of the time. I also think about those who don’t – people around the world who live without clean, fresh water within easy reach, or who didn’t have any advance warning when they had to flee their homes due to wars, wildfires, or any number of other natural or unnatural disasters.

Thinking about things like this always helps me put my own situation in perspective. It reminds me that my minor inconveniences are just that. It reminds me to have compassion and concern for those whose issues and problems are much more severe than anything I’m going through. And it reminds me that I should take action whenever I can to help others who are struggling – with issues that can range from minor inconveniences to life-threatening situations.

Our plumber left a few minutes ago, and everything seems to be working now. So I’ll drain the bathtub and empty the water in the kitchen sink, which I’ll fill again with hot, soapy water when it’s time to do the dinner dishes.

Before long, I’ll probably forget we ever had a problem, and I’ll go on with my everyday life – until the next minor inconvenience comes along.

June 6, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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