I admit, I've rocked it out to the power ballad "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by glam metal band Cinderella. Hey, I was an 80s kid! That's how we rolled. The words of the refrain have been playing in the back of my mind as we faced a major local water problem here in Toledo, Ohio.

Lake Erie photo by @nicholas_t on FlickrWhen we first got word that we were not to drink, clean with, or even touch the water due to algae contamination, there was a lot of scrambling around to find safe water sources and to figure out how to do so many of the routine things we do with water! Stores cleared out of water, disposable plates and cutlery, and hand sanitzer within hours. With the water advisory just lifted this morning, Toledo and surrounding communities are able to return to normal. But what's normal now?

I am so conscious of the fact that I use more water that is often necessary. When I have a seemingly limitless supply of safe water (this applies to other basic necessities of life too!), I tend to be less conscious of how much I am using vs. how much I need. I don't know how much water I use when brushing my teeth using water from the tap, but I do know it's a lot more than when I am rationing out a bottle of water! My dental hygiene is not compromised with less water, so why use more? This is where convenience and lack of mindfulness actually translate into wastefulness and possibly even harmfulness. While I'm displeased with my own lack of mindfulness around water, I am grateful for the opportunity to think and act differently as a result of these few days of water challenges.

Water is a precious gift. And it is a matter of justice that we take good care of water and ensure that everyone, and indeed all of creation, have access to safe water. I give thanks that water has also given me a chance to be a better human being!