Heaven must be made of truly great showers.
I can remember every single one of the great showers of my life. I mean the really great ones, the life changing ones. The kind of showers you have to make up excuses to stay in just a little bit longer. The showers that wash away the dirt and tiredness of travel or the weight and pressure of a bad day and make the world seem like a better place.
There’s nothing quite like a great shower. A great shower has the ability to turn the worst of days into something good. All my lectures, sermons, and talks have been prepared in the shower. Countless unpleasant conversations have been rehearsed under the water. Blog posts have been written there, and lots of tears have been cried there. In fact most of my biggest decisions have been made in the shower.
After lots of experiences in my travels with the best of showers and the worst of showers, I’ve learned that truly great showers are a perfect combination of a few key components…
First of all sufficiently hot water. A cold shower is a mild form of torture. I can’t say I’ve witnessed all that many instantaneous miracles in my life, but one such miracle happened somewhere in East Africa on a cold and cloudy day without any sunshine to power the solar panels and heat the water. After weeks without a decent shower, I stretched my hand out under the ice cold faucet and prayed for hot water. Sure enough that water got warm! That’s my kind of miracle - a hot shower.
Secondly, you need ample water pressure. No amount of hot water can make up for a pathetic dribble of water that makes you do the shower dance to get wet. I don’t wanna have to exert extra energy in wild gyrations to rinse off. No, just no.
Thirdly, is perhaps the most important - proper shower-head height. I’m tall. Half the worlds’ showers are built for short people. This is a fact. When I was living in Australia, the shower head came up to my boobs. So basically to get my hair wet, I had to contort my body into precarious positions without falling or pulling a muscle. This is just wrong.
The fourth ingredient is cleanliness. Even the best of showers with a questionable shower floor is no good at all. Probably the most exciting part of moving into my own flat was that I didn’t have to wear shoes in the shower anymore. It was freedom! But even shower shoes don’t do much good in the bush bush where as soon as you step out of the shower stall into the dirt, your feet are caked in mud. Ewww! Worse than mud or dirt or gunk though is the creepy crawlies. I mean, how many of you fellow missionaries have spent an entire shower with one eye on that giant spider in the corner of the shower stall? Or devised every kind of hanging device imaginable to keep your things away from the insects on the shower floor? When it comes to great showers, cleanliness is a must.
Finally deprivation. There’s no shower quite as sweet as the shower after outreach or a long stay in the bush bush or an impossibly long plane ride or bus ride or truck ride or horse ride. Yep, that shower is heaven. Pure heaven. Nothing makes a good shower feel so amazing as it does after having to shower out of a bucket for three months. One of my greatest all-time showers was at a guest house in Zanzibar, Tanzania after having lived in a relatively rural area for three months with nothing but bucket baths. But that shower in Zanzibar…wow. Just wow. It was literally the size of a small bedroom and even had a seat! I remember standing under that shower for hours, literally soaking it in. "Distance makes the heart grow fonder" is true of showers too.
All these five factors make the difference between an average shower and a life-changing shower. One of the best showers in the world is in my brother's house in Germany. It’s spectacular and has the perfect combination of all the above. And inevitably when I come to my brothers’ house, I’m returning from somewhere with less-than-heavenly showers, which makes it that much sweeter. Thank goodness, I’m not paying the water bill!
Yep, heaven is made of great showers.
P.S. Ben, if you’re reading this, just kidding about the water bill!