I see him (in my car’s side mirror) in the gym parking lot: short whitish-gray hair, dark rimmed glasses, and navy tracksuit.
He starts walking toward my car; I wait to see which car he will drive away in so I can park.
He slows behind a car in a handicap spot. Sigh.
But then he stoops low and picks up a piece of trash and puts it in a plastic sandwich bag in his left hand. He stands and walks away. Although he doesn’t vacate a parking spot, I perk up and cheer.
It won’t bring world peace but his act of picking up trash makes me smile.
Love serves and creates beauty where trash once existed. (Click to Tweet.)
He circles back then stoops low and picks up another piece of trash.
I’ve never picked up trash in our gym parking lot but I have picked up trash (left by another), in other settings, like a park.
Given the reality of germs, I wouldn’t suggest picking up every piece of trash one sees, but his actions made me think: what if we each did one thing each day to beautify and improve where we work or attend school or live.
What if each day we loved by doing one thing to “pick up the trash” where we live, work, and love?
(I know many of you already do this: Cheering for you!)
As my day unrolls, I keep thinking of his little act of defiance against the trash left by others.(*)
Maybe we fight against verbal trash by choosing to be kind to those we interact with, especially if we disagree.
We choose kindness because God first showed kindness to us.
Maybe we choose to practice what Dallas Willard taught about not having the last word in a disagreement.(**)
Maybe we pray first before we open our mouths to give a sharp retort to our teenager or spouse. (Lord, have mercy.)
Or maybe we refuse to contribute to the trash by spewing ugly, judgmental words into our home, work, and on social media.
You may be thinking: this isn’t fair because I didn’t create the trash. I agree.
God picked up the trash in my heart and still does when I ask for forgiveness.
Even more amazing, God gave my heart: the Holy Spirit and his unconditional love.
Yes, it is a lifelong process to learn to fully walk in God’s love but it is freely available to each of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
A special thank you to each person who reads, emails me, and/or leaves a comment. Your kindness blesses me.
May you be open to God’s overwhelming, over the top love for you and may God’s love flow from you to others.
May God give us the grace to choose to be loved and to love today.
As you look at your little part of the world, what can you do to make it more beautiful?
How have you experienced God’s outrageous love for you?
Thanks for being here!
We begin a once a week book club with a weekly question (Intro then one from each of the 7 days) from my book the week of February 19, 2017.
Thanks to Maryleigh Bucher for this idea. Please join us. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
(*) I began this post a month or so ago.
Photo by Nina Strehl via Unsplash
(Amazon Affiliate links in the post.)