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June 6, 2011

She offered me a cup of cold ice water. I looked at her and then her house. Looked at the house again and declined. Even though it was hot and I was thirsty I told her I didn’t need a drink.

I was working in her yard. She had contacted Owasso Community Resources with a need. The man who usually helped her with her yard was ill and couldn’t help her like he usually did. She needed someone to come mow her lawn and help with some free range trees that were growing up around the yard.

When we arrived I noticed that her bushes were also out of control. I set about trimming bushes and cutting down small trees in her flower beds. We started early in the morning but it was already hot. The woman is a disabled senior and it shows in her yard. She doesn’t have what it takes to keep it up. I trimmed while my son mowed the lawn.

So as she turned to go back into her home I started to think, why did I have such an aversion to her water? Why did something inside me say you want nothing to do with this water? I didn’t know her and had never drank her water before. Her water comes from the same place as mine. So I took a second to try and figure out why I responded so viscerally that you don’t want to drink the water.

It took me a minute but it came to me. When I was a kid growing up during the summer my mother would drag us around to many elderly women’s homes. She would go to visit shut-ins from the community and church. She would take us and we would help them with different projects around the house and yard.

I remembered doing that and I also remember drinking their water. I’m guessing that since they were seniors and didn’t have much company that the ice was a little old. Probably freezer burned because when I thought about taking a glass of this woman’s water my mind reacted. It remembered all those people we helped and their nasty tasting water.

It actually took me back to their homes and as I thought about it I could even see the glass of water. Converted jelly jars. Then it really hit me. Here I was with my son repeating the process. Well repeating the helping part, he had a bottle of water.

It made think about why I am the way I am. Could it be that my mother instilled this in me growing up? That you help people in need? That you visit the widow and help her around the house? Here I was with my son passing this valuable lesson along.

I worry that we are not training our children up today. How do we expect them to become servants if we don’t develop it? How are they going to see the value when they think they are the center of the world? Here I was not wanting a glass of water because when I helped people with my mother you didn’t want to drink the water.

Pass it on people. Don’t think by sending your children to fun youth group activities that they will somehow know to flip a switch some day to become servants. Don’t expect them to enjoy it. I don’t remember ever looking forward to going to these homes as a kid. I dreaded the experience. Start today, just make sure you bring your own water.

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