Due to a minor plumbing problem, we were without water in our house for two days last week. It was inconvenient and uncomfortable, especially since we didn’t foresee the need to fill containers or our sink with water ahead of time for drinking or washing. Still, it was indeed a minor issue, and the timing of it kept things very much in perspective.

By “timing,” of course, I’m talking about this happening the same week as the catastrophic hurricane that decimated the Bahamas before turning north and traveling up the east coast of the United States. I’ve been horrified anew with each broadcast of the stories and videos coming out of the tragedy, as well as the thought of what the death toll will be once all the bodies are located and recovered – and, sadly, in the aftermath, from people in need of food, water, supplies, and medical attention that won’t get to them in time.

Heartbreak and helplessness are two feelings that come when watching something like this from a distance, as well as unsettling feelings of guilt over things I have that I often take for granted because, for the most part, they are always there. Things like clean water, gas, and electricity. Food, medicine, and whatever supplies I may need at any given time.

I’m sure most of us can identify with the frustration and impatience that comes with the minor and temporary annoyances in our lives. The power goes out during a thunderstorm. The air conditioner breaks down on the hottest day of the year. The car battery dies the morning of an important meeting.

But I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to lose everything in such a violent storm as Hurricane Dorian. To suddenly be stranded without food, water, or shelter. Without knowing where some of your family members are, or if they’re even alive.

I hope I never have to learn those feelings firsthand. And I wish no one else ever had to, although I realize it’s unrealistic and unlikely for that ever to be true. Vicious weather will continue to wreak its havoc on the world and its people. All we can do is prepare as well as we are able before the storm hits, and help those in need afterwards, in whatever ways we can.

And whenever we’re confronted with a minor inconvenience, like a plumbing problem that leaves us without water for a few days, we can use the occasion to remind ourselves how fortunate we really are.

September 8, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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