Few things in life are sweeter than a baby’s first words. Out of a child’s lips, “Mama” or “Papa” means so much more than any dictionary could ever explain. Yet, soon that same child begins the common chant of our culture: “More?” One cracker before lunch is not enough; one horsie ride around the living room just doesn’t cut it; and one story before bedtime? Impossible.
The year my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary found us in a similar situation: we took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii. Unbelievable! We watched as our daughter found meaningful work helping disabled adults as she finished her college degree and our son successfully finished a second year at college. It was a good year. And yet, like Disney’s Little Mermaid, I found myself singing, “I want more. . .”
Is it my love of literature that makes me dream of travel in far-off lands or a life of leisure in which the time-consuming, mundane chores of cleaning, mowing, and grocery shopping belongs to someone else? I long for free time to read, travel, and entertain friends in my well-kept home.
Then came the “1000 year flood”: 18 inches of water traveled in one day down the watershed to the little town in which I taught. It did not flow through the town, but instead it came crashing through the valley, toppling the banks and the dike on our normally lazy river. For weeks, our town went without: without clean water, without a grocery store, without a hardware store or a bowling alley or restaurants or the many small businesses that towns everywhere work to build. Even weeks after the water had been pumped back over the dike, bucket brigades had emptied basements, shovelful upon shovelful of unrecognizable possessions had been hoisted into the street along with ruined furniture, appliances, carpeting, and even floor boards and sheetrock, the sight still shocked us.
And then came winter. Along with it came the realization that there is not enough money from the government to make a dent in the reparations. No. The town was dependent upon donations and fundraisers. So where is the hope?
The hope lies in the hundreds of volunteers who arrived regularly to give money, hand out supplies, prepare food, pressure wash and sanitize homes and businesses. The hope lies in realizing the blessing of “enough.” In an age of commercialization where no one can own the latest auto or computer or sofa before the next, better item comes along, the hope lies in the miracle of realizing the meaning of enough.
It is a miracle simply to have a grocery store and clean water and strangers who wish to lend a helping hand. It is a miracle to be together and to be warm and healthy and happy. Who could ask for more?
By: Jo Anne Agrimson