As I stepped into the shower this morning and turned on the water, a sudden feeling of warmth flooded over me.
It wasn't the water. Not exactly.
It was that the water was there.
I had one of those sudden realizations of something that should have been obvious. It occurred to me how privileged I was to have some of the things that I take for granted. Like water, for instance.
Few people here need seriously worry about preserving every last drop. Nobody I know has to walk several miles to fetch a couple of buckets of water that will sustain them for perhaps a week. Not a single woman I know - it's not a man's job - has to trudge the miles back home carrying a few gallons of water (each gallon weighs 10 pounds, not counting the container) to be able to provide their family with a few drops. of questionable quality, to boot.
Fresh, clean water literally falls from the sky for those of us lucky enough - despite our gall to constantly complain about it - to live in our verdant heaven. Most of the year, anyway.
Actually, water does become a semi-precious commodity in our household most summers lately, as water tables have dropped and our well has been hard-pressed to meet our greedy needs.
It's that that got me thinking about my privileged status. I knew that, with all the rain of the past few weeks, my well was certainly back in the safe zone, and I could leave the tap running just as long as I darned well pleased.
Even in the hottest summer - with my water situation at its most desperate - the worst that happened was the pump bottomed out. It sucked air, stopped delivering water. It burned out, and had to be replaced. I was out of water for a day, and out of pocket a few hundred bucks for a new pump. Annoying. But not critical.
Not deadly. Not like in some parts of the world, where a dry well or a burned-out pump (if they have the luxury of owning one) could put the lives of an entire village in jeopardy. It got me thinking past water.
I'm not rich - and yet, I'm among the fabled One Per Cent. and probably, so are you. On a global scale, average Canadian wage earners are among the world's richest one per cent.
Donna and I realized years ago that most of our friends and family are global One-Percenters. Of course, we weren't called that before the Occupy Movement.
We were just "better off" than most people in the world. and better off than some of our neighbours.
Instead of buying socks and ties and shiny baubles for those close to us, we began buying goats and chickens and access to water. for people in parts of the world where such things are synonymous with dignity and life and hope.
Organizations like World Vision and Ten Thousand Villages and others have catalogues full of such wonderful gifts.
There is a need close to home, too. Consider helping out the Christmas Hamper Society on behalf of one of your friends, or help the Friends In Need Food Bank. There's Christmas Haven's Christmas Eve dinners. And a few bucks are always welcome in the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles - you don't need to give much, if you don't have it.
For out-of-town friends, give to a Christmas hamper bureau or food bank near them.
Let your friends know you gave their gift to someone who needed it more. needed it badly.
I'll admit we started on this track with a bit of trepidation about how people would react. But our gifts of gifts to those who needed them more were relished. It turns out practically everyone likes doing something nice for someone else.
And here's a simple one that'll cost you nothing: visit www.youtube.com/envisionfinancial, watch the video. and Envision will add a buck to the Angel Tree program.
The program is described in the video - it's not an advertisement, just another way to help.