By Mary Ann O’Neil

I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of two women sitting at a table next to me in a small downtown cafe.

They were annoyed because their friend, Carrie, was already a half hour late.  They left her a scolding voicemail and then several text messages, to no avail.  Carrie never appeared.  They went on and on about what a drag she was. I learned that Carrie was a frequent “no-show,” a drama queen who knew no boundaries when it came to crying on the phone late at night, and made bad choices with regard to men.  While none of those things spoke well of Carrie, the worst thing uttered about her was that she was “a drain.”


Carrie was thought of as someone who sucked everyone into the drama of her life and dragged them down.

If you’re like me, that’s the last thing you want someone to say about you. Rather, I want to follow Rex Hudler’s advice: “Be a fountain, not a drain.”

Centuries ago fountains were necessary for survival, providing an ongoing source of water for drinking, cooking and bathing. People would journey with their empty urns to the fountain and return home with what they needed for their families. Today, fountains are primarily decorative.  In Florida, fountains of all different sizes and shapes adorn public parks, shopping malls and private homes.  Some display beautiful sea creatures indigenous to our area and others form a water-park like experience designed for children to run through and cool off.  I look for fountains when I am walking, and often in the middle of my power walk, I stop and enjoy both the sight and the sound of a fountain.  I appreciate its continual flow of water, a life necessity, reminding me that life goes on and on in spite of me.  The flow of water is strong much like my faith and confidence.  I like the way the water flows upward and then forms a protective-looking umbrella as it falls downward.  And I love being refreshed by the misty spray that reaches all the way over to me on the park bench.  Children come to a fountain and squeal with delight, and adults can sit for hours in front of a fountain and walk away feeling replenished.

Fountains are refreshing and calming and inclusive—much like a good friend.

“Be a fountain, not a drain.” [click to Tweet!]

Hudler’s advice is simple. Be a welcomed sight to your family and friends and even perfect strangers waiting for coffee along with you.  Be refreshing to others!  Add to their lives by your smile, your words and especially your behavior.  Like the fountain, be a continual source of happy, positive feelings.  Even when you are facing something challenging, how you handle that challenge can have lasting impact on those around you.  Engage their help as needed, share your feelings of fear or discomfort, but do not be a drain. Be a fountain, an inspiration to others in your honesty and your ability to ask for support when needed, and most important by how you manage through the challenge.  Share your love of life, your humor, and educate others by your experiences.

As you walk away, may others be glad they spent time with you because you are a source of life to them, much like the fountains centuries ago. May others feel refreshed by your presence.

Please, “Be a fountain, not a drain.” [click to Tweet!]

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