Greed and selfishness are two traits many of us frequently tend to believe we are void of. While that may be true when life isn’t throwing us any curve balls, the true test of that comes when things are suddenly taken away that are regularly relied upon. I got a chance to see this first hand recently when the Toledo area went through a huge scare where the drinking water became toxic for all of us.
This all began the morning of August 2nd when my cell phone rang. My partner quickly informed me to not use the water in any way, shape, or form. Algae blooms, he said, had entered the city’s local water supply and created a toxic level that was too dangerous to consume or even bathe in. I was half asleep during the call and a little irritated about being woken up given that I had just gone to bed a few hours earlier. So I really didn’t take what he said too seriously and decided to go back to bed hoping whatever problem existed would be gone by the time I got back up. Upon waking a few hours later, it wasn’t and I quickly learned the situation was more extreme than I first believed. The warnings were all over the local news informing everyone not to use their water for consumption, preparation or even bathing.
My mind immediately went into a slight place of fear once I understood just how serious this water problem really was. Even though I didn’t need to take a shower that morning because I had just taken one six or so hours earlier, I wondered how long it would be before I could take one again. I then went into the kitchen deep in thought about this and suddenly realized I couldn’t have my morning glass of water from the tap either. Upon opening the fridge, I took a quick inventory and saw that I hadn’t one single bottle of water on hand. My first taste of this new reality came shortly thereafter when I had to brush my teeth with club soda because that’s all I had in my fridge. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience, but I was grateful nonetheless for having at least something to use that was mostly water based.
By the time I finally left the house I was feeling exceptionally thirsty. I started wondering if I was only feeling that way because I didn’t have a resource in abundance like I normally would. Regardless, I decided to stop at a local Rite Aid to pick up a few bottles of water on my way. I soon discovered there, as well as everywhere else I subsequently stopped at, that they were completely cleaned out of every type of bottled water. Thankfully I finally found a few bottles left at one of the local gas stations I stopped in, and for an instant I truly thought I had discovered gold.
Throughout the rest of the day I began to hear of reports all over the city of the insanity, greed, and selfishness that was taking place because of this water crisis. One person had bought so much water their car became unable to move due to its weight. Another person bought all 36 cases of water remaining at a local Costco. Some businesses had jacked up the price of a single bottle of water up to $15, while various individuals were trying to make some money by selling the many cases they cleared from store shelves on media sites such as Facebook. I even heard that one person had pulled out a gun on another just to fight over the one case of water remaining in some store they were both at.
As I continued to hear these horror stories from various friends and news reports, all of it gave me a sobering thought. Water is something we all take for granted each and every day of our lives. It’s used to prepare our foods at home or at the restaurants we dine at. It’s used to make the drinks we get at coffee shops. It’s used to clean us in the shower or our hands in the sink. And it’s used to replenish our bodies, as all of our drinks are mostly water based. To think that there are places in this world where people go through this type of water crisis every single day of their lives was sobering indeed, especially knowing many of them struggle to have even a single glass of water in a whole day. Yet, we take things like this for granted every day of our lives, until it’s taken away from us when something tragic like this happens.
So many went to a deep dark place of fear here in Toledo when this water scare began, and sadly it seems the idea of having good morals and positive spiritual behaviors did as well. The greed and selfishness of others was very apparent and I shudder to think of what would happen one day if the whole world went through a water crisis like this all at once. I pray to God that never happens but if by some chance it ever does, I know there’s only thing I can do. I must practice the same patience, love, and tolerance like I did in this recent water crisis, and trust in my Higher Power to get me safely through it.
Regardless of whether this ever happens again or not, I definitely have a much greater appreciation now for a resource in life that none of us should take for granted, as every drop of clean water is truly a blessing from our Higher Power.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson