To say I have felt care-free, relaxed, or even at ease these past few weeks would be a lie. It’s been quite the opposite, I’m afraid. Stress is a funny thing. It builds constantly without release until it bubbles over impacting far more than you expect.
Have you ever been in a situation that is causing you stress, and yet, logically you know there is no basis for the stress – which, in turn, stresses you more? Yeah – that. That’s been happening daily around here. Tiny, little stressors, unfounded and unnecessary creep in and wreck havoc. Not at all fun; not at all.
But, when I can feel it happening – when I know I’m frustrated simply because I’m frustrated. There’s one phrase I’ve started to focus on: Hot Water.
Not the “Oh, I’m in some real hot water now, so-and-so is really going to let me have it for this….” kind of hot water – no, I’m talking about the literal bathtub full of amazingly perfect hot water.
Let me explain: On my fifth day in Ecuador I woke up excited and anxious to spend the entire day at a Fun Park with my two sponsored children, Emily and Josué. I met both my kids in the hotel lobby, and enjoyed a few minutes visiting with them before we boarded the bus for the hour-long drive.
The bus ride, I truly believe, will always be my favorite part aside from the initial meeting. I sat with Josué on my right, Emily on my lap, my translator across the isle on my left, Emily’s mother next to the translator with her other daugther on her lap, and Josué’s tutor and sister behind me. I’m horrible with small talk – and was so amazed at the moment that I could think of nothing to ask them. There was nothing I wanted to know – I just wanted to be there with them. Josué laced his fingers with mine, put his head on my shoulder, and just rested there for most of the drive. I wish I could capture that moment in a time capsule and visit it every day – it was perfection.
When I finally could string a sentence together, I asked them about their hotel stay – specifically, “What was your favorite thing about the hotel?” Knowing that getting to stay in a hotel in Arkansas is a big treat for kids, I figured it was a bigger treat for them. I was not disappointed.
Josué replied without hesitation – the bed. I asked if he had a bed of his own at home – he does, the hotel bed was very comfortable though, I laughed a bit and heartily agreed. My hotel bed was indeed more comfortable than my home bed. He relaxed a bit and we talked about his travels with his ball team and the hotels they were able to stay in.
Emily was a bit slower to answer, and more shy with her answer – at length, her Mom spoke for her. What had been her favorite thing?
It had amazed Emily that you could get hot water straight out of the tap in the tub. She delighted in her shower.
You guys. Hot water was her favorite thing about the hotel stay.
That thing I take for granted every. single. time I turn on the tap for my shower; that thing that I don’t miss until it’s gone; that was her favorite.
I could not speak. For a moment, I simply could not comprehend. My spoiled American self had not considered this a luxury. I was clearly wrong – and deeply humbled. I asked if they had running water in their home. They do – just no water heater. To bathe, they warm water on the stove. I could at that point see in her mother’s eyes the impact this trip had on them. The love and thankfulness poured out of her like the water had poured out of the tap – and it never shut off. The entire length of our time together she thanked me; she kept conversations going when I could not; she asked questions that I was happy to answer; and she poured out love.
And so, when I find myself overwhelmed, frustrated, insecure, or stressed – I focus on hot water. Because even on my worst day I have so much to be thankful for.
I am blessed and humbled by the Hot Water I’m in.
Blessed and Humbled; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s hoping that you remember there is always something to be thankful for – and that sometimes the hot water your standing in is a blessing in disguise.