I recall summer days during childhood when my father would attach sprinklers to a few hoses spread around the yard to water the grass. Then, every so often, he would move each sprinkler to a new location to ensure each section of grass was watered. I remember looking forward to “sprinkler days” back then especially on long, hot, humid days.
My siblings and I used to run through the lines of water at times to cool off, or around them at other times to avoid getting wet. Still other times, we would pick the sprinkler up when least expected, aiming it at the others, whether wanted or not, for a surprise cooling off. And then, every so often, one of us might slip away to remove the sprinkler head, replace it with the “super spray” nozzle and proceed to provide a more powerful cooling off experience for the others. Overall, we had a lot of fun, and admittedly some “disagreements” too.
There were three sprinklers altogether. Two of them were straight and about a foot long with several holes along the length. The sprayer would move from one side to the other, from 0 to 180 degrees, shooting lines of water along the way. Then there was the “wacky” sprinkler. It had three prongs that came out from the center which would rotate around, 360 degrees, as it sprayed a line of water sideways from each prong. The circular motion caused the lines of water to be wilder, and perhaps crazier, than the lines of water that the other sprinklers emitted. Despite its flair and pizzazz, the “wacky” sprinkler was the least desirable for cooling off. However, at the end of the day, both types of sprinklers accomplished their job, watering the grass sufficiently. And, while the “super spray” nozzle was great for sibling sneak attacks, it was less effective and not considered as an option for watering the lawn.
With events that have transpired across the world this past week, and what seems a continuous growing trend of intolerance and inability to dialogue in dignified and respectful ways, somehow I found myself thinking of the “wacky” sprinkler spraying water in every which way. Yes, it was wild and crazy, but it still had a purpose and value so we tolerated it and used it as it could be used. Then there was the “super spray” nozzle with its harsh and often cold rush of water, but even that, if used properly could be used to water the lawn.
There are many happenings throughout the world that can be upsetting and downright improper. Sometimes, it can be easy to become enflamed by what we cannot comprehend and by what seems “way out there” to us. It can be tempting to join the frenzy or to turn away and refrain from any kind of engagement. Somewhere in between, there are answers and there is common ground. Somewhere there is the fountain, the spring… the Source that provides life rather than strife. It is up to each of us to seek it and to work toward it, so that we may come together rather than be torn apart.