Garbage is part of life.
Refuse happens. The ongoing conversation about reducing our carbon footprint , minimizing our waste, especially plastics, and repurposing whatever we can is like a single light in the midst of huge darkness.
Unless everybody on the planet would do it, it will continue to be the impossible dream.
Things are discarded because they’re unwanted, unusable, or unsafe. Everything from food to furniture, broken appliances to broken toys becomes the excess for those who pick up our weekly cast-offs.
Garbage tells a story. Of what we’ve done, what we have and have finished using, of what’s been needed to get us to where we want to go.
Recently my daughter and her family wanted to repurpose some furniture to be more useful and better looking. They’d built lofts for beds for their children but didn’t want to keep them as high as they were. Taking them apart, they decided to stain the wood as well, which improved the look of the beds.
It’s been incredibly hot here, so working in the garage to have some shade from the relentless sun and heat was smart. As they finished staining the wood, they threw all the rags in their garbage can and moved it to the curb so the odors wouldn’t permeate the garage and house.
Later in the afternoon, one of the boys noticed that the garbage can was on fire.
No one is sure how it happened. It seems that, between the heat in the plastic trash can and the stained rags saturated with mineral spirits and petroleum distillate, there was spontaneous combustion.
It was a perfect storm.
Thankfully they found it before it burned out of control.
Even in that there was a story. The hose they grabbed to spray the burning can wouldn’t produce water. They ended up running back and forth and throwing water from pans on it.
We often fill our lives with a lot of stuff and clutter, activities we don’t enjoy or things we accumulate because gaining more things feels good. In the moment.
We fill our minds with whatever we find on social media or the news, cluttering our thinking with someone else’s thoughts and not our own. Our minds and lives become trash receptacles for whoever speaks the loudest or most often. Whatever is the popular pursuit of the day. Without considering what fires we’re lighting inside us.
I’m not minimizing important concepts or right actions. It’s often easier for me to jump on a bandwagon than think through an issue on my own.
It’s easy to follow a herd mentality, doing what everyone else is doing. Saying what everyone else is saying. When all it does is fill our minds and blot out the need to think for ourselves.
God gave us each a remarkable intellect. The ability to determine what is right and wrong in a context of truth. To give up the right to choose wisely for ourselves is a loss.
Jesus said He would show us the truth, who He is, and that truth would set us free.
True freedom is so much better than playing with fire.