Monday, June 6, 2011

I am a coward

I am a coward. There, I said it. Again.

This morning, while I was taking my Monday morning walk (rarely a good thing), I got to get a glimpse into the life of my neighbors (trash day always does that). If anything can draw out my "Judgmental Antenna," it is walks on trash days.

Of course, the rich folks at the top of the street cannot be bothered with recycling, even though it is mandatory. I guess they'd rather pay the fines than actually have to think about what to toss and what to recycle. You don't know how that makes my blood boil!! Never, ever ... not even once ... have I seen a recycling bin at the end of their driveway.

Moving down the street, I was appalled to discover boxes, yes, I said boxes, of books waiting for their demise in the the landfill. Boxes!! Who throws out boxes of perfectly good books??? Seriously.

Well, here's where the coward part comes in. I didn't rescue them. I thought about it. I stewed. I even talked to my husband, who was at work, about what to do.

"Go over there and get them," he ordered.
"I can't," I moaned.
"I just feel stupid. First of all, I'd have to back the car up to get them. They're too heavy."
"Take the wheel barrel," he suggested.
"I'm not taking the wheel barrel," I firmly stated.
"Just go over and knock on the door and tell him you're going to take them to the library."
"What if he's not up yet?" My excuses kept coming.

The fact of the matter is ... if I'd discovered this last night, in the dark, I would have snatched up the boxes of books in a second. But in the broad daylight, with neighbors all around (I live in a neighborhood where an awful lot of people are home during the day), I just couldn't do it. However, if the boxes only contained books, perhaps I would have done it. But they didn't. Neatly stacked among the hardback books were magazines ... and we're not talking Woman's Day or Family Circle here. We're talking pornography. And I just couldn't bring myself to asking the neighbor if I could take the boxes, out of fear of embarrassment ... for both of us.

So as I debated, and vacillated between right and wrong, I heard the garbage truck heading up our hill. It was too late. For a moment, I wanted to run up to the driveway and say, "No, you can't take these," shielding the boxes with my body. Instead, I quietly cringed and turned away as the first box was hoisted into the truck.

Today, I'm grieving the death of a society that cared about the earth. A society that wasn't wasteful. A society that didn't have so much that barely anything was of value. I'm grieving the books that had worth and could have brought others joy. And, I'm grieving my lack of character ... my inability to stand up for what I believe in ... for what is right.

I am a coward, indeed. And as I sit here with tears running down my cheeks, I hope you will forgive me for that.

My plan was to write more about my Sabbath experiment today. But first, I decided to go for a walk ...

Sharing my heart,



  1. And what a big heart it is! You are definitely part of an uphill battle, but it's a battle worth fighting. Even a year ago I wouldn't have considered myself that concerned about the environment. I recycled, but only because it was relatively easy and cut down on the garbage I had to stuff into a can and lug to the street. I won't say I've gone "all in" yet but I think about it a little more and think that Christians, especially, should model a care for creation. We've totally dropped the ball on that. I feel like I do little things, but I think little things add up. I take my own cup for coffee to church most Sundays. We recycle whatever we can, even when it means collecting cardboard for a month (they don't take it curbside here) and making a special trip to a recycling facility. Walking when we can. Hanging clothes on the line. Anyway, don't give up the fight!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa! And for all you're doing for the earth! It's a great example for your kids!!


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