She smiled back at me, a few metres ahead on the travelator. It was this flat moving escalator, taking us and our trolley of luggage from one level of Bangkok’s international airport to another, that made her gush, “Oh Mama, this is a special kind of wonderful.”
It wasn’t the trip to Thailand for a conference, it wasn’t the excitement of meeting Daddy at the airport after he’d been away for a week. It was a travelator, not often seen and rarely ridden.
And in that moment of joy and appreciation, the ordinary travelator became extraordinary to her.
A few steps on and she and her sister danced around the water fountain, pushing the button and slurping the cool, clean water. The ordinariness of clean water freely accessible to everyone was extraordinary to them.
We are thankful that our home has piped water that [mostly] flows when you turn on a tap, however the water is not safe to drink. Our girls get excited when we spend time in Australia and they can drink tap water. When we’re there they will often grab a cup from the kitchen and run into the bathroom to fill it up, just because they can. They sip and slurp through giggles, the utter extra-ordinariness of it. There they stand in the shower, tilt their heads back and open their mouths wide, gurgling shower water….just because they can, and so often they can’t.
I love that our girls have had the opportunity to see the world through different eyes, so now when they see what so many others take for granted as ordinary, as expected, even as entitled to, they have the ability to transform the ordinary into extraordinary.
Like clean water from a tap.
Water is one of our most basic needs – without it we survive barely days. And even if we have it, if it’s dirty it can make us sick or even kill us. We drink it, we cook with it. We use it to clean and we use it to wash. We play in it and play with it. We travel through it and we need it to grow our food.
Water truly is amazing.
And yet so many of us squander it and waste it and take it for granted.
This weekend, every time you turn on a tap, remind yourself that simple action is not ordinary. It’s not ordinary because it’s not possible for nearly 1 billion people around this world of ours. That’s how many people don’t have access to clean water, let alone having it piped into their home.
Remind yourself of this fact often enough and you might just start to see something as ordinary to you as tap water become a little bit extraordinary.
Because it is. Extra. Ordinary.
[detail: 1 billion is one of those numbers which slips easily off the tongue but the magnitude or the relativity of it is often lost. So maybe this will make it a bit easier to comprehend – imagine no one in Australia having access to clean water. Not one single person. Now think of Australia replicated 43 times and you’ll be close to trying to wrap your mind around just how many people 1 billion is and how it could be for that many people to not have clean water.]