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Christmas Eve 2015: A Coldwater Blessing

December 24, 2015

I was getting my hair (what there is of it) cut today, and engaged in idle conversation with my Vietnamese stylist Lori. I had just come back from a weeklong sailing adventure offshore. One of the Seaward’s stops that week included an overnight in a secluded cove on Santa Rosa Island. In the morning, some of the crew wanted to take the morning for a swim, regardless of how cold the water in the cove might be on this winter solstice day.

Not being one to watch another brave a coldwater bath while staying on deck and comfortably dry and relatively warm, I cut the legs off an old pair of jeans with a pocketknife and was first in the water. Cold, yes, but not unbearably so. 60º I’m told. I washed my hair in the sea with dish detergent in lieu of shampoo.

As I related this to Lori, she mentioned that when she was in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1988 with her sister and her father, that everyone in the camp got a single bucket of cold water each day for their entire ration, to be used as drinking, cooking, and bathing water. A single bucket per person. Not easy to live with, she said, but “We were happy.” Living under such restrained conditions was, for that family, life as it was to be lived for a time.

“That is the price of freedom,” she said. Made my seawater shampoo seem like a luxury item.

What we take for granted every single day and barely notice, is a precious thing, and not to be ignored or wasted. So here’s a thought for you this Christmas Eve, and maybe every evening throughout the year. When you think of the gifts and blessings you have received, are any of them as valuable as that bucket of cold water, once a day?

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