Friday, May 20, 2011

Grief and Gratitude: Hot Showers

I’ve just finished taking my pre-Shabbat shower. For this week's post in my Grief and Gratitude series, I’ll write today about how grateful I am for my daily full-body cleansing.

There’s an incredible amount to be thankful for in my experience of showering:

I have access to clean water. Over a billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water, two and a half billion lack access to adequate sanitation facilities.

My apartment has running water. Only 3.5 billion people in the world have this privilege. And my running water is hot and cold.

My water pressure is not so bad. OK, it’s not great, but it’s not the trickle that the residents of East Jerusalem, for example, have to live with. (See the first episode of Sayed Kashua’s “Arab Labor” to see what I mean.)

My bathroom is clean and safe. My bathtub is long enough for me. I am fully mobile, and can easily get in and out of by bathtub.

I have enough money for Dead Sea products with which to wash my dry skin, and for good shampoo. Several years ago I read a heartbreaking article about teens in Israeli development towns who could not afford even the cheapest kind of soap.

I have a healthy body, including all the parts, to wash. I can let the water run over all my body, and don’t have to watch out for a cast or a catheter.

I’m sure there’s more, but Shabbat is fast approaching.

One of the nicest things about my shower is that it’s usually the last thing I do, so that no matter how frustrating or crazy my day may have been, and no matter how low my mood may be by evening, I can always perk myself up by using my gratitude.

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