Monday, January 26, 2009


Here’s another one of those quirky thoughts that happened to me in the most strange of circumstances. I happened to be taking out the garbage this morning. Now this is a pretty common occurrence for me for the last 40 years or so, but this was a little different. The garbage can has a plastic bag liner in it; you know the kind, with the red plastic draw strings for closing and carrying. Now the can was jammed full of garbage to fit more in and because I was lazy and didn’t empty it before it got too full. So there is a challenge in front of me.

When my mom would make me take out the garbage I would simply pull the red strings and yank the garbage out of the can as quickly as possible, jam back in it what spilled and roughly run it to where it was supposed to go. Inevitably, the bag would burst and garbage would spill all over the kitchen or hopefully, somewhere outside. I remember getting angry at mom, at my brother who deposited the smelly banana peels, and at my dad for not making the dump close enough to toss the garbage out the kitchen window. Then, since no one would pick up my case, I would get another bag, jam it full, finish the job and be angry for a few hours.

All this I thought about this morning as I pulled the red strings on the garbage bag and carefully wedged it back and forth to remove it from the garbage can. Slow at first but it eventually gave completely to me like removing that one great, unshredded piece from the crab leg. No spillage, no broken bag, and a quick tie to bring it outside.

The lesson that came to me was on maturity. I think maturity is like that. When we are young we have all the energy and little experience in garbage and in life. We will “rush in where angels fear to tread.” Life sends us lessons like picking up stinky banana peels where we have to make a decision: do we learn from this or do we get angry and take our foolishness out on everyone? If we learn then we take one more step up the ladder of maturity, and someday may reach a certain level of wisdom.

The fool lamented to King Lear that he should have grown wise BEFORE he became old in Shakespeare’s play. I pray that for all of us.

There are; however, many advantages to youth. As I brought the perfectly removed bag of garbage out and was thinking these profound thoughts I missed the curb on the sidewalk and tripped. The bag broke and spilled all over my driveway. Nice.

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