It's the simple things: "The Arcadia Shoe"

Slurrr. Qusshhh. Shhh. Slurrr. “Mom,” I yell from the cracked bathroom door. “What happened to the water? It’s not working!”

I just got home from one of my varsity volleyball games and I’m drenched in sweat. All I want to do is take a cold shower.

My mom hasn’t answered me. “Mom?” I yell again.

She frantically walks into the bathroom, holding the laundry basket in her hands. “What’s going on?”

“What’s wrong with the water?" - I point to the faucet - "It’s not running." She lets out a deep sigh and walks into her bedroom next door to put the laundry basket down. “Umm, hello?! What’s going on here?” I ask.

“Franchesca, there is a bucket of water in the downstairs bathroom. Put some in a pan to heat up and take a shower. Now, go. I need to finish the laundry.” I’m frozen in place as she walks around me to put a handful of clothes away in a drawer.

How on God's earth do we not have running water? I think. I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I can feel the blood boiling in my face and my hands are curling into fists. I could punch a wall right now. This is NOT happening! How could this be happening? I walk slowly back to my room and sit on the edge of my bed. My head is spinning with a million thoughts.

From the corner of my eye, I see my mother walk into the bathroom with a warm pot of water and a towel on her shoulder. She’s going to take a shower, I think to myself. Instead, she walks into my room and hands me the towel. “Here,” she says, “a warm towel for you to use when you’re done.”

Meanwhile…”Fran….Fran…Fran??” my husband snaps at me to get my attention. I’ve dozed off to an adolescent memory while staring at the running water in my bathroom. “Sorry, babe. I was just taking a moment to appreciate the running water,” I smiled.

I’ve always admired my mother for her hard work, commitment, and dedication to the well being of her family. Growing up, I remember that, as a single mother, she worked 14+ hours a day to meet our family needs. I also clearly remember the day our water was turned off because the water bill didn’t get paid. My mother was hoping my father would step up to relieve her of some of the financial burdens, but that was just wishful thinking. We went without water for about 2 days until she decided enough was enough.

When I take a moment to look around me, I realize how blessed I am for the simple things in my life - like running water to bathe! When was the last time you took a moment to sit back and just count your blessings? In spite of the "crap" that may be going on around you, do you realize how fortunate you are for the simple things you already have?

We tend to focus so much on material things, like that Benz we saw last week, the condo in the heart of the city, or that Michele watch we saw at Saks. But what use is it to own a Benz if we don’t have our limbs to drive it? Or to live in a nice condo if we don’t have anyone to share it with? Or even to save up for a watch that we’ll probably replace in a couple of years? Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s OK to desire all of these things and strive to obtain them if our lifestyles permit. But don’t forget that there are prerequisites to truly enjoying any of these luxuries. Let me a remind you of a few of those prerequisites that we often forget about: your senses, your limbs; people you love and who love you more; the ability to hold someone, kiss them, communicate with them; and the list goes on. Oh, and please don’t forget the stuff we love, like food, water, breathing (yes, breathing is an amazing thing, isn’t it?!). We’ve become so used to these things that we don’t count them as blessings. But these are the real necessities. Everything else is a want; whether you have it or not, you’ll survive and life will go on.

Today, I challenge you to think about the simple things in life that you may be overlooking. When you grab lunch, eat slowly and take time to savor your food instead of rushing through your meal. When you hug a loved one, hold them longer than you usually would and take in the moment. Or, if you’re like me, when you take a shower today (you do shower, right?), let the water run down your back for a minute and be thankful that you have running water.

As you focus on the simple things in life, you’ll come to realize that your life isn’t as bad as it looks. As a matter of fact, the more you think about the little things, the better your life looks. You may even piece together that your life is already a great one! Live it, love it, and be thankful for what you already have!

Each post is named after a pair of "fictitious" (for now) shoes. For this post, I chose the name "Arcadia," which means “simplicity and happiness.”