Thursday is trash day where we live. It’s our chance to clean up all the stuff that no longer has value and let it go. The good news is that a big truck comes along week after week to help us clear the decks. Presto! It’s gone! We don’t have to think about the trash anymore.
Some of us have been trash collectors. We’ve been storing up our baggage and dragging it along everywhere we go. It’s filled with the slights and the hurts and the bumps and the bruises we’ve gotten in life. We often take them out of the bag just so we can look at them and remind ourselves how sad it is to be us, to have been bruised and beaten by people in our lives so many times. We hold up the injustice and the place we felt victimized and put it all on a pedestal. After all, we don’t want to forget about those things. Where would we get the necessary sympathy we need each time we tell another version of our brutal story?
What would we put in the place of those wounding events? Yes, these are our medals of honor, the badges of our lives that we want to keep polished and new and unforgotten. Now the question we might ask is “Why?” Why do we want to drag around this old stuff from years ago, or even from last week? What could all that hurt and frustration and indignity do to make today better? Of course the answer is that it does absolutely nothing; it’s a bag of trash. It’s rotten old trash that we need to put in a barrel far away from where we live. We need to let it go, burn it up, and get the smoke out of our eyes.
We need to free ourselves from being the stars of our own sad movies. How? We do that by forgiveness. We have to take those tin can moments that we’ve turned into alabaster jars and we have to stop polishing them. They are just so much dust on the window sill and we have to blow them away.
When we allow them to be forgotten and forgiven, we give ourselves back the energy we invested in their care and keeping. We recognize that all we have is today. Today, we can make a difference, and all we have to do is take out the trash!
The truck is coming by soon in your neighborhood. You can make a clean sweep and get rid of all that stuff that no longer serves you. After all, your Father in Heaven has forgiven you more times than you can count. It may just be a good day to stop counting the slights and the bruises. Count on the things worthy of your care and keeping, God’s love and the love of others in your life. There’s no reason to recycle the trash!