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The day hot water became a luxury - Jason A. Smith

It's strange to think about what can qualify as a luxury in life.

Most of the time, when I think about that word, I think about having the nicest car, eating at the finest restaurants or taking trips to exotic locations.

Recently, however, the term "luxury" took on an entirely different meaning.

I was at work one day, when my wife called to give me the unfortunate news that we had no hot water at our house.

The water was just fine earlier that morning, when I was getting ready for work, so I was a bit confused.

The power was still on in the house, and we did have water -- albeit the cold variety only -- so I used my powers of deduction to determine that the problem must have been a malfunction with the water heater.

The problem was, I had no idea how to fix it. I'm not a handyman, and I never have been, so I was at a loss. The only things I knew for sure were, we needed hot water in order to adequately care for ourselves and our baby, and we could not afford a new water heater.

I try, most of the time, to remain on an even keel and not blow things out of proportion. But I must admit, this time I was freaking out.

Fortunately for us, we have people in our family who were able to help us.

Our predicament forced my wife and me to stay with her mother for a night, for which we were very thankful.

Then, her uncle took a look at the water heater and -- being much more adept at such things than I am -- found the problem. There were a couple of parts which needed to be replaced, as opposed to the entire machine.

I bought the parts, her uncle put them in, and a short while later, I enjoyed the hottest shower I've had in months.

The episode made me realize how blessed I am, to enjoy certain luxuries, and how spoiled I've become by them. For one thing, of course, I was grateful to have hot water again, particularly since there are people in poorer parts of the world who do not.

But even more than that, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the people in my life who love us, who were able to help us, and who were willing to do so.

Again, there are people in the world -- whether in the far reaches of the globe, or in our midst -- who do not have those resources.

The experience with the water heater left me wanting to find a way to be a blessing to those around me in the way I was blessed.

Although I would still struggle with how to repair a water heater, I do have some skills and tools to help others in need.

We all do.

God has placed us in each other's lives, so that we might be a blessing to them with our gifts. We must be available, and willing, to share those gifts for His glory.

Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.