Going Through the Trash

When we got to our grandkid’s house, the dogs had gotten into the trash. They were supposed to be in their kennels but they escaped (or a grandkid forgot to lock the doors of their kennels) and really enjoyed going through garbage.

When we lived in the Netherlands, the two of us only created a tiny little bag of “trash” every week. Everything else was recycled. Trash management is a thing in the Netherlands. On our street, there were large receptacles (picture a large closed dumpsters) that had signage explaining what they were for. There was one for cardboard (lots of Amazon boxes), one for plastic, one for glass (lots of wine bottles), one for paper, and a much smaller one for Trash (food waste). If we had been able to compost, we would have had barely anything for the actual trash. We had to sort our garbage before we threw it away and in our apartment, we had different bags that matched the receptacles outside. I became very trash conscious.

We did not waste anything there. I would rather eat two-day-old leftovers before I would endure the looks of our neighbors as we walked down the street with an “American-sized” trash bag.

What if we were trash aware in our spiritual lives? What if we looked at the garbage we were trying to dispose of like we looked at garbage in the Netherlands? Maybe we could sort out the different pieces and recycle (reframe) some.

This relationship is not working and rather than throw it out, I may need to reframe my understanding of the relationship. Maybe the other person can’t give me what I want but we can still be in a relationship?

Or, rather than throw out this broken item, I try to repair it?

Or maybe I just need to break the glass, let it be melted down and made into something else?

Or maybe I need to reach inside the trash bin and scrub out what is stuck to the sides?

Sometimes we try and dispose of things in our lives but they just go deeper into the trash and never make it out of our house. Maybe we could take it out and look at it and see what could be done?

God is always willing and able to help us with what we may think is trash. Taking out our problems, looking at what we want to get rid of in our lives is one of God’s specialties. Nothing heals buried in a trash bag. We may think we are getting rid of stuff but in reality, it just goes to a landfill. But when we really look at our trash instead of just throwing it away with lots of different stuff, we can make some useful decisions.

It can be a helpful metaphor.

But back to the real garbage. It can tell us a lot about how we are living our lives. I would not recommend dumping it out on the floor. My coffee grounds would make a terrible mess but you could take a peek. It might be worth looking at. What’s in your garbage pail?

Published by Julie Cicora

I'm an Episcopal Priest that loves using knitting as a spiritual discipline.

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