The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

January 13, 2012

Rusty water needs help

WASHINGTON — I was reading about a young girl this week whose grandparents and parents had built a rustic cabin in a wooded area. They spent weekends and vacations there. No electricity, no gas; they used a kerosene stove for cooking, buried their garbage across the road and got their water from a pump just outside the back door. It was the girl’s daily chore to get water and bring it in the house. Her brother’s task was to take care of the garbage.

The first time the girl pumped water into a bucket, she had to pump and pump and pump before she finally got any water. But, when it gushed from the pump into the bucket it was the color of mud. She was dismayed but took the bucket into the kitchen. Her mother told her to keep pumping, the water would eventually become clear.

So she went back outside to the pump and worked for awhile longer. Sure enough, soon the water started to clear up and before long, the water was completely clear, cool and refreshing.

This story about rusty water is applicable to many efforts and trials in our lives. Anything that takes effort may start out a little rusty.

Learning to dance produces awkward steps and stumbles at the beginning. Learning to play a musical instrument creates squawks, growls and off key melodies when a person first tries. Beginning an exercise program will give us aches, breathlessness and fatigue.

If we “keep pumping,” our efforts will eventually give us graceful dance steps, beautiful music and a slimmer, stronger body. Anything worth doing is worth working and waiting for. Even though our early efforts may only give us rusty water, persistence will help us reach our goals whether it’s clear water, becoming a ballerina, a rock star, a star athlete or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

So, don’t give up when it seems like all your efforts are producing only rusty water. Keep practicing, keep learning, and keep trying. A clear bucket of water is only a few more pumps of the handle away.

•••

Cyndi Pratt remembers pumping water on her uncle’s farm. That well always produced clear water with just a little effort — maybe because the pump was used so often it never had a chance to get rusty. Another reason to keep on keeping on, never letting your skills become stale.

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