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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Picking up Trash

Trash nestled along the canal
My husband and I recently watched Better Call Saul (this is not an endorsement of the show, although I did enjoy watching my hometown and it made me slightly nostalgic for the mountains).

The main character gets sentenced with community service.  He shows up, gets in a van with all the other "delinquents" and they head off to pick up trash.

I didn't blink twice.  Everyone knows that "prisoners" and "delinquents" pick up trash as part of their sentence.  To serve the community.


For some reason (possibly because I haven't seen this since I came to Europe), it jarred me.  Is expecting a person who has committed a crime to pick up trash in some way equalizing them with trash?  Is picking up trash really going to change a person, make them feel kinder toward society and rehabilitate them from a life of crime?


We all should be picking up trash when we see it!  We shouldn't be dropping trash without considering how inconsiderate it is [I do admit that if one is being inconsiderate it is unlikely he/she will consider this fact].

A bread wrapper

If we expect prisoners and delinquents to pick up trash as a way to participate in society, shouldn't all upstanding citizens also be picking up trash?!

Is it possible that if I pick up trash, I can be more human?  That I can stoop down, remember that all is not well in this world, that there is a lot of mess and trash (emotional, mental, personal as well as physical) and learn to see that I can participate in making a change?

Or do I just stand back, watch the prisoners and delinquents picking up trash and think "Good.  Those people with problems who really need to get their lives turned around are doing something worthwhile with their time."  "They are being taken care of by 'the system' and I can brush my hands off and not get too close."

Or even, just look at the trash scattered around me and think "Gosh, some people are so disgusting." Subconsciously considering myself better than "those" people.

I think that until I am willing to admit that I am part of a shared humanity that is messy and trashy and broken, true healing and restoration and trash-less-ness will be a lot longer in coming.

And I, for one, have found that I can be the bravest in admitting that I am messy and trashy and broken when I am faced with the incredibly kind, unconditional, compassionate love of Jesus.

And I see that I am not very different from those prisoners and delinquents picking up trash, I just have the kindest, most compassionate, most loving savior picking up trash with me, right next to me, braving the grossness, smelliness and filth of me with me.

Trash along the edge of the path