Saturday, September 11, 2010


On Thursday evening we met a few families at dusk and walked a mile down the paved bike trail to fetch dirty water from the creek. Then we walked back, spilling as we went. The kids, running and chatting on the way there, scraped the rubber of their shoes against the pavement and began to hunch, passing the water between them and making intermittent attempts to balance it on their heads. There was a lot less talking on the way home. And when we were done, there was not even enough to fill a bathtub.

We have done this activity before, but never because we needed water or planned on drinking it. And I pray that my children are spared from the day when they do not have the things they need to survive. But even as a ‘homework assignment’ walking a mile for water hurts: my feet; the palms of my hands, where the handle rubs; and my heart because this ritual is reality for another mother who will feed her baby with water murky with disease and dirt.

Peanut did not carry any water. But she watched, leaning over the bridge as we filled the buckets. And I wonder what she already knows, and what she sees when she curiously stares, chin tipped slightly towards her sternum in impish grin. I pray: that she uses her life to help others; that she finds joy in sharing; that her arms are strong for the task; and she laughs at all the days to come.

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17

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