Water Melancholia

Water Melancholia July 2, 2012

I’m staring at a glass of iced water. It’s 100-degrees outside and I’m sitting at the island in our kitchen. A few moments ago, I filled a glass tumbler with crushed ice and crystal clean purified water from our reverse osmosis system. Sixteen ounces of refreshment now sit a few inches from my fingertips.

But I can’t bring myself to drink it—all I can think about are the eight people I’d give my left arm to be able to send this glass of water to:

Brian Gardner – My literary agent’s (Rachelle Gardner) husband, Brian, is a firefighter in Colorado Springs. He’s spent the last week grabbing an hour or two of sleep where he could get it as he fought the Waldo Canyon fires. I’m hot, grumpy, and thirsty sitting inside my non-burning, air-conditioned home in a pair of Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. Brian is sleep deprived, physically exhausted, and yet, man-upping-it in a thick, fire-retardant suit so that several fewer people will lose their lives, homes, photo albums, tree houses, and fish tanks. And he’s not complaining, because this is the stuff of heroes, and heroes don’t whine…they work.

Bonnie Tyler asked, “Where have all the good men gone?”

I’ll tell you where they are: they’re holding hoses, flying planes, and back-burning forests in Colorado this week.

Our Child in Uganda – Our family is in the process of adopting a child from Uganda. Our kids have been plugging allowance money into an adoption jar for a year now. They just hit the $100-mark. (That’s no small feat when you get a couple dollars a week for cleaning out a chicken coop, sweeping out the garage, and changing the cat litter.)

At this point, we don’t know whether our child is a boy or a girl, but there’s a good chance he/she is alive and sitting thirsty in an orphanage someplace about 7,000 miles away.

I didn’t realize how hard this phase would be. It’s probably good I didn’t. Knowing that one of my children is across the globe, hungry, thirsty, and needing picked up, and there’s nothing I can do but wait…well, it’s causing a pain in my chest that nothing but a future “Gotcha Day” in Kampala, Uganda, will take away.

Six Nebraska Army National Guard Soldiers – Nebraska just sent six soldiers to Afghanistan for a nine-month mission. They held the deployment ceremony two days before Father’s Day. Two days before Father’s Day…are you kidding me? I cannot begin to imagine how hard it would be to be gone from family and friends for 9 months. And then there’s the weather—it was 100 dry, dusty, degrees in Kabul today, and these soldiers are in full military garb.

In a couple days, I’ll be lighting sparklers in my backyard with my wife, three kids, and a few close friends. While we’re having fun, these six soldiers will be defending the very front line of my freedom to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of BBQ, friendship, children, home, back yards, and sparklers.

There are simply not words big enough, beautiful enough, or poetic enough to express my gratitude for the sacrifice our military men and women make for my family.

The Ice Has Melted…

In the time it took me to write this blog post, the ice has melted. The condensation ring below the glass has completely soaked through my narrow-ruled legal pad notebook.

I still can’t bring myself to drink it.

It now feels like it doesn’t belong to me.



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