I wouldn’t normally position this letter in such a public forum, but this year you happen to share a birthday with a little Internet phenomenon called Blog Action Day. Each year, bloggers around the world unite on a single day to all write about a chosen topic. I’m not necessarily sure it actually spurs any action or proves any points but if it alerted even one to areas where they could help out, I can’t see the harm. Since I signed up and I’m borderline nerdy, I figured I’d join the revolution.
The topic being covered this year is pretty broad: Water. I don’t expect you to understand yet the idea of how important water is to your daily life. You’re too busy with learning new things, exploring, playing and learning to pitch like Cliff Lee but in terms of our physical needs, water is probably the most fundamental. We use it every day for drinking, for cleaning, for keeping our plants alive and so much more. In fact, it’s estimated that the human body can’t go more than about three days without water before shutting down. It is a necessity.
Due to blessings beyond our control, we have been given the opportunity to be in a situation where clean, accessible water is a right. But not everyone has been afforded the same. Sadly, almost one out of every eight people in the world do not have ease of access (or any access at all) to this physical lifeblood. Think of it like this, if your class represented all the people in the world, each of your friends would have access to clean drinking water every day, except Rihannon. Sadly, Rihannon wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to the drinking fountain, use a toilet that could flush or even wash her hands without the fear of them becoming even dirtier.
The problem is, is that it isn’t Rihannon or someone else so close that we see suffering, those who suffer we don’t see and often forget about. It’s really no different that the simple game we play with Keegan when he is getting into things he shouldn’t, “out of sight, out of mind.” We are often so near-sighted in our own lives that we forget about the Rihannon’s of the world from my example above.
Ignorance cannot be bliss. But more often times than I’d like to admit, it works itself out that way. Case in point, I recently had the opportunity to be a part of a campaign for this exact cause. A noble goal of $20,000 was set to be able to drill four separate water wells in an area where they didn’t have them. I participated. And I spread the word. And I felt good. I gave myself a mental pat-on-the-back for the $25 I donated to the cause. It was an amount that I felt comfortable with, but in hindsight, I should have probably put myself in a position of being slightly uncomfortable with what I gave.
In less than thirty days, my mind had moved on from those wells. Away from the people in need and into a thought process about what else could make me happy. I took that $25 and I multiplied it over thirty times. I bought a toy. Instead of providing one of life’s most basic needs for people in need, I thought of myself. I allowed myself to think that $25 was a borderline painful amount to take care of others and $900 was an acceptable amount to take care of myself. And in doing so, I set a really bad example for you.
As you grow up, you will find that I’m not perfect. What I also hope you will find though is that I am working at it. I desire to be the guy who chooses to meet the needs of others with the $900 and his own with the $25. I hope that you will find a similar passion to help as well. Clean water isn’t the only need for the billions of people around the world but it is a basic physical necessity and one we can work together to provide for all.
Happy birthday to you, you are richly blessed and definitely a blessing.