Wednesday, April 8, 2015

H: Wicked Hot Shower

Did you know?
  • Around the world, 750 million people lack access to clean water (almost 2.5 times the U.S. population)
  • More than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases (caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene--that's the entire population of San Francisco)
  • At least 1.8 billion people around the world drink water that is contaminated with fecal matter (i.e., poop!)

When we traveled in Indonesia, we experienced the simplicity of bathing with a mandi...a tub of extremely cold water in the bathroom. You wash yourself by dipping a plastic bowl into the water and pouring it over your head. No matter the temperature outside, the water was always freezing! 
A mandi
During the first year I lived in Japan, we had an old-fashioned bathtub. We had to fill up the tub with cold water, and then turn on the gas to heat the water. First, of course, we'd wash our bodies with soap before stepping in the tub by pouring water over ourselves. Same idea as the mandi, but with warm water.
Old-fashioned gas-heated Japanese bathtub
In the U.S., we take hot showers, piped right out of the wall, for granted. Many people around the world do not have enough water to drink, much less for bathing. So next time you take a wicked hot shower, be grateful!
What a shower looks like for most of the world, unheated!
Prayer in Celebration of the Greatest Invention Ever,
the Wicked Hot Shower

O God help me bless my soul is there any pleasure quite so artless and glorious and simple and unadorned and productive and restorative as a blazing hot shower when you really really want a hot shower? 

When you are not yet fully awake, when you are wiped from two hours of serious basketball, when you are weary and speechless after trip or trauma? 

Thank You, Inventiveness, for making a universe where there is water, and heat, and nozzles, and towels, and steam, and hairbrushes, and razors for cutting that line that distinguishes your beard from your chest, and toothbrushes. 

Thank You most of all, Generosity, for water. Deft invention, water. Who would have ever thought to mix hydrogen and oxygen so profligately? Not us. But it is everything we are. It falls freely from the sky. It carries us and our toys and joys. It is clouds and mist and fog and sleet and breath. There is no sweeter more crucial food. 

It ought to remind us of Your generosity every time we sip or swim or shower. It reminded me of You this morning. I bow gently in gratitude. 

And now, forgive me, I must be going, as there is a small boy hammering on the door and wailing and gnashing his teeth, and there is a disgruntled line forming behind him. And so: amen.

Here's more information on why I chose this focus for the A to Z, and you can read all my 2015 A to Z posts here. I hope you enjoy the celebrations of the miracle and muddle of the ordinary! 

You can buy the book at Brian's favorite local bookstore, Broadway Books, at Powell's Books, or on AmazonBrian's work is used with permission of Ave Maria Press.


  1. Each time I take a shower, I try to be thankful that I can have a hot shower whenever I want. I can stay in there as long as I want. And I never worry about not being able to shower. I try not to forget how blessed I am.

    1. Yes, it's a good practice to be thankful every time we are in the shower!!

  2. Another reason for gratitude for living in the developed world!

    1. Definitely! You did NOT like the cold mandi; I remember that!