Monday, April 14, 2008

Living Simply vs Simply Living

Recently we held a multicultural day at our school. We do so every year because we have students from over 90 different countries at our school and we like to set one special day aside to celebrate our diversity. At an assembly that morning Kathy Mueller from London's A Channel came to speak about her trip to Sudan. She had accompanied a group of fire fighters who were helping to build a school.

One thing that Kathy said really stuck in my mind. It was a quote from Ghandi who had said we should "live simply so that others can simply live." I've been thinking about that a lot. This past Sunday my pastor spoke about what it means to have "an abundant life" and how different that is for us, in an affluent country, as opposed to the billions who struggle to "simply live" from day to day.

This morning when I got up for work I took a shower. I really enjoyed that shower, as I do every morning. I made the water as hot as I could stand it and by the time I was done I was wide awake and ready for another day of teaching. I don't think my shower is under 3 minutes, a record set by my famous relative ceeb at Four Mugs and a Crock (see this post for other water conservation tips), but it isn't much longer. I have to be quick, you see, because my 17 year old gets in next. We use more water each morning to make coffee, brush our teeth and flush our toilet.

I live an abundant life and I take it for granted. When I walk over to the tap I don't worry if anything is going to come out. I don't even have to think about it. I have an endless supply of fresh water. Once at work I make more coffee and after a second cup I switch to drinking water for the rest of the day - refilling my bottle several times over the course of the day. It's so easy. Perhaps it's too easy.

Kathy described how a woman's day in Sudan is all about obtaining water and food for her family. That is her career. Instead of walking over to the tap a Sudanese woman walks to the river or a well, perhaps a two hour journey or more. With jugs of water full she walks another two hours to get home, through countryside that hasn't seen rainfall in many months. No pitstops along the way for an iced capuccino. No car or bus to hasten the journey. While she is away her babies are looked after by the older children.

The New York Times reported today that 3.2 million people in Sudan face food and water shortages due to civil unrest and a longlasting drought. Food drops have already begun.

The next time you turn on your tap and fill a glass full of clear, clean water stop and think for a moment. Feel gratitude for your abundant life and find ways to conserve and share your abundance. There are many ways to help - CARE is one of them.

3 comments:

Kareer Woman said...

I love Ghandi's quote, "live simply so that others can simply live." So very true, thanks for the reminder.

storyteller said...

This post and the one below ‘Walk don’t drive’ captured my attention as I was checking out your T-13 today. Both ‘resonate’ with my own perspective and methinks it’s important to talk about these ideas to raise awareness … so thanks for these types of posts ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

storyteller said...

This post and the one below ‘Walk don’t drive’ captured my attention as I was checking out your T-13 today. Both ‘resonate’ with my own perspective and methinks it’s important to talk about these ideas to raise awareness … so thanks for these types of posts ;--)
Hugs and blessings,