This morning I decided to take a short walk outside to begin my day. I am usually content to sit and sit and sit all day, so it felt good to get my body moving first thing in the morning.
I walked along a path close to my house, looking for God in nature, listening to the birds, breathing deeply… but, my eyes kept being drawn to the beer cans, McDonald’s cups, plastic bags, and candy bar wrappers. It annoyed me deeply. I laid blame on the high school kids who frequent the path – “Inconsiderate, spoiled rascals. Don’t they see how their actions affect others??”, I grumbled.
I stomped back home, found a large garbage bag and work gloves. As I fished the trash out from the limbs, thorns, and weeds, I continued to grumble. “God, may these kids regret how they treated Your creation! May they feel deep remorse and guilt! Harrumph!” It felt good to pick up the trash in all my righteous indignation!
As I picked up more and more trash and my bag got really heavy, I felt my heart soften for whoever tossed aside the trash. Empty energy drink cans, wrappers, Starbucks cups, straws, paper… “Kids or adults, they are all loved by You, God. These bits of trash are bits of their lives and we are connected in this community. May I love the people around me well. May others come see how beautiful Your creation is, God, and respect it with awe. May they see You in this little patch of nature.” My work suddenly shifted to honoring God and His creation – less about wanting to show those littering rascals a thing or two. I was partnering with God, clearing away the clutter so other path walkers could see the trees, not the trash. To God be the glory.