My face meets the chill of fall air. Toasted comfort and vanilla follow me as I climb out of my car. Coffee in hand. Lunch packed in my purse. I step past the garbage with a tall dark mass bent over. Looking for food that someone decided to throw away. Hoping the crumbs might make themselves tasty and satisfying as they work their way to his stomach.
From the garbage we eat, and in the garbage we stay when we stand in ways of pestilence and grave. Ways of the flesh disregarded as perfection. And then when grace beckons welcome, we turn back to our trash can to find the familiar crumble of food that might make sense to our hearts. The hurtful words, misguided slurs, the generational patterns of bondage find themselves a home in our emotional graveyard. We don’t care and we eat them anyways. We consume them until our hearts and minds become infected with words that do not speak the truth.
But how to do we stop consuming depressive thoughts and tendencies and trade them for something that did not exist in a garbage can? How do we find fresh fruit from the tree of life when availability offers nonsense?
What does it look like to find that tree? And who will we get rid of the garbage that hides behind it?
Why must we search for joy and happiness? Shouldn’t they be at home in our hearts despite the trash?
Just like the man digging, I wonder how much longer I will scavenge to find my emotional meals. I want joy readily available.
And I see the sweet smile of an old woman out of the corner of my eye. She looks through me. My heart says, “you know it’s not that bad.”
I smile back. I know nothing about her life. But to this hollow shell of a woman, she dares to offer hope.
And so I turn to the Lord. My reassurance found in God. Trash cans exist, but I find my peace in God. It seems best. It seems better than a dumpster or trash can. And I try daily to let these things go. To walk past without thinking about them. To leave the trash where it is. But at times I pick it up anyways. When I do, I thank the Lord that I no longer have to feed from the wreckage, but that I can feed from His grace.