Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Dirty Truth About Garbage: Be Honest

As my friend Heidi says, I am the “country mouse” and she is the “city mouse.” We love identifying the differences and then sharing them with each other via a photo or dramatic status update. “Driving past the Mall of America 2 miles away from my house!” she announces. (Don’t worry: her husband was driving.)

Mall of America? I'll just take a Super-Target! 

Meanwhile, the nearest IKEA from me is 2 hours away.

I usually brag about the solidarity out here. Complaining about how we are a thousand miles away from everything is part of the culture. 

But I can't imagine being anywhere else. 

It’s fun to compare the differences occassionally and recently I was thinking about some not-so-obvious ones.

For one, well-water is very different than the water that comes out of your tap in town. When I was little we just drank it, but now most people have some kind of filter system for it. Yes the water is free. But you might not want to drink it straight out of the hose.

Another thing people often overlook when they think of how fun it would be to live in the country:
   Snow Removal.
First of all, if you are WAY out here..

country road

..you can plan on your road being about the last one to see a plow. And after they finally go by, how are you going to get out of your driveway? Most of us have long lanes that lead back to the garage. Nothing you want to tackle with just a snow-shovel if you can help it. You need a snow-blower, a tractor, or a truck with a shovel on the front of it.

snowy country
It's pretty, but I am NOT shoveling all that.

However, on the flip side, Fall is easy. I don’t know of anyone out here who rakes their leaves in the fall because the leaves will just blow into the field next to your yard. It’s great! (I really hate raking leaves.)

See those fields back there? You won’t even notice when the leaves go there. It’s great. By the way, that's about 30 feet from where my husband proposed to me.  I love that spot.

The trash situation is really special too. It wasn’t until recently that companies started offering trash pick-up out here. Most of us grew up burning our trash and lots of people still do that. (There’s a burn pile out back for those occasions. Have to wait until it’s not too windy or rainy.)

Cleaning out the fridge is an extra-gross job. You can’t throw away the tupperware that's harboring the unknown: plastic doesn’t burn (FYI). So you either have to make arrangements for regular trash pick up for that kind of trash OR….. clean out each container, and then wash it for recycling. There is no recycling that comes to your door, so that gets piled up with the rest of the recycling in the basement or garage. And most of us don’t have garbage disposals, so where am I supposed to go with the science experiments that were growing in there?

If you’re really on top of it, you will have a compost pile going for food scraps and garbage.

Or you can share some of it with the livestock.

cows up-close
 Although they are pickier than you might think.

(You can put it straight into the trash can, but that gets stinky and messy pretty quick.) Either way, lots of us country people have a 'garbage container' of some sort. The garbage gets thrown into something like an gallon-sized ice cream bucket, old tupperware, or maybe a worn-out pan. Then when it’s full you have to CARRY IT OUT TO THE FIELD.
I know. It's as much of a hardship as it sounds. Especially when it’s 10 degrees outside. Or even a rainy 43, to be honest.

(I don't have any pictures of that.)

Some country-folk leave their garbage container out on the counter for daily filling, or on the back of the stove. Others keep it under the sink so it isn’t so public. I know those who have stored it in their oven, but let me tell you - if you forget it’s in there and start the oven preheating - PEWWWEEEEEE!! (Plus, if your container is plastic, the mess just got WAY bigger!!)

Today when I was carrying the garbage out, I was thinking about country-people and how we handle our garbage. It was decent outside, so I wasn’t complaining. I was actually enjoying my walk.

sky picture
Ok, this picture might not be from today. 

But I WAS carrying garbage. And thinking about how there isn’t just one way to deal with our trash. But we all have garbage that we have to do something with. And that reminded me - Hey, we ALL have garbage we have to do something with!

Like, at one time or another we ALL have awkward conversations with people we are related to. Or a dumb fight with our spouse that we wish could just be erased. We all have someone we are sortof trying to avoid right now. Or a tendency to judge our peers - especially when we happen to be having a good day. Not one of us goes a day without messing up or falling down or complaining too much. There is always something. We all have garbage we collect.

And we have to figure out what to do with it.

Do not put it in the oven and then forget about it and then turn the oven on!! It will get SOOO smelly!!

Instead, let’s resolve to take the garbage out every day. Christ offers us daily renewal in prayer. It’s so therapeutic to take the garbage out, hand it to Christ, and walk away. Be honest with Him. He knows how your day went. You don’t even have to wait till the end of the day, even! You can dump it on Him right away when you see what has gone wrong.

“Lord I can’t believe I just said that to my friend. Please forgive me and work in my heart a way for me to ask her forgiveness too! Ugh.”

Open mouth, insert foot. Angie Wagner

“Lord, why did I let this bill get past due?! Oh man I do NOT want to tell my husband about this. But I know it is your will that I do. UGH! PLEASE prepare my heart for this. Give me perseverance and focus so I follow through. And Lord - please let Him be in a good mood when He gets home.”

pile of mail and bills
Yeah, sometimes things get lost in there. 

“Lord, I am so frustrated with my kids today. I feel so guilty about how I handled it, but I know it is not your will for us to be burdened with the guilt of our sins all day long and forever! Take this guilt away now, Lord, and create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me… So I can move forward and mother my children in a healthy zone for the next 3 ½ hours until bedtime gets here!”

Or until they crash. Whichever comes first. 

Whether you live in the country or the city or on a houseboat - we all have garbage. Be honest with God about your garbage and be ready for Him to be honest with you. The results might be a pleasant surprise.

How do you deal with the garbage that piles up everyday?

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