I have spent most of my life living in a one bathroom house. Oh there were some years where I was blessed enough to have more than one bathroom to be used by the family and I have to admit I loved that time. Even now I am thankful to have three full bathrooms, one for only me, one for my son, and one for guests who come to stay. I do feel spoiled and I’m not ashamed to admit that! However, in all my growing up years, and in much of my married and raising a family years, I lived in a one bathroom household. In fact out of my sixty-one years on earth I have only lived with more than one bathroom in my home for about twenty-one years or one-third of my life! So why am I telling you this uninteresting fact about my life? It’s simply really, because this morning I was thinking about all the things I learned while living in a one bathroom house!
I believe the first thing that I remember learning in being in a five member family and having to share the bathroom with them all was patience. Let’s face it, some people take a long time to use the bathroom and when you have to wait for someone to finish you learn to be patient with your situation. Oh it was tough sometimes but patience was learned.
As well as learning patience I also learned to endure. Like I said there were five people in my family and so I had to learn to endure while I waited for the bathroom. And then when I finally got to use the facilities I had to endure the air that I breathed because there was no fan to aid in, well, you get the picture! Yes endurance was the second thing I learned.
The third thing I learned in living in a one bathroom house was to hurry up, unless it was my brother who was waiting and then I slowed way down just to be mean. Well, until my Mom would march in and see that I was just standing combing my hair and then she would remind me that kindness is a better way to live in peace with my brother. Either I got that reminder or I got booted out with no explanation what-so-ever! My selective memory prefers the memory of kindness being a better way to live in peace!
Also I learned that if you aren’t first in line for the shower or bathtub you will most definitely be taking a cold shower or bath. I would remind myself about all those teen magazines that insisted washing your hair in cold water made it shine and was much healthier for you! I passed that info on to the rest of my family but they really didn’t see it that way so we devised a plan for baths.
Dad took his bath right after getting home from work and before supper as his labor required a bath and a change of clothes when he got home. My brother would take a shower at school after football practice and if it wasn’t football season then he would take his bath before bed. He was fast at taking a bath. My Mom was a morning bather and so you had to make sure you got into the bathroom before she did. My sister and I just waited until no one was home to take a bath if possible because we liked long soaks in bubbles! Our system worked! All the strategy in planning when to take my bath or when to brush my teeth or even when to relieve my self was probably very instrumental in my strong skills of observation, time management, and strategic planning.
My Mom used to say that our bathroom was grand central and if you hadn’t seen your loved ones all day then just go to the bathroom and you will see most of them or talk to most of them through the door. I do believe she had a point. It seemed to me that the best time to catch my Mom to ask her a question or get her to sign a paper for school was while she was in the bathroom. At least we knew we had her full attention while she was using the bathroom! I guess you could say that I learned the art of choosing the right moment to begin a delicate negotiation from those sessions with my Mom!
I also learned self-denial from living in a house with only one bathroom. I could always tell if someone else needed to go to the bathroom more than I needed to go. And since my Mom’s teaching on being kind was taking root I would allow them to enter and exit the bathroom before me. Yes, I am thankful for her teaching to think of others before myself as it has been a useful teaching through the years.
I also learned to be courteous while living in a home with only one bathroom. For instance I learned to make sure that if I used the last of the toilet paper to put a new roll on the holder. I also learned to keep the sink clean. And my brother learned to put the lid down after he was finished as my Dad always did for my Mom. I also learned to think of others and be courteous when deciding whether to use the room freshening spray! Yes I learned to be courteous!
Come to think of it I guess you could say that much of my character was formed during those years of living in a house with only one bathroom. I learned to be kind, courteous, caring, and a whole lot more that has carried me throughout my life. Now some of you might be thinking that this is just plain silly talk! But honestly, unless you have lived in a house with four other people and shared a bathroom with them then you really have missed out on much!
As most of my posts have some scripture attached to it I feel that this one should also end with something to think about. Now this is going to be tricky to find some scriptural tie-in. I will have to think about this for a moment…okay, here it is!
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:12, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law, Romans 13:8-10, (NASB).
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors, James 2:8-9, (NASB).
Have a blessed day!