Jesus Loves You (Garbage) Man!


The city I live in did not make the most recent list of “green cities.” My Facebook page was plastered with posts from concerned citizens.  We made the list for “safest,”  “friendliest to bicyclists,’ and “worst places to live if you’re single.”  All of which should guarantee us a position on the list of ozone protecting tree huggers.    It didn’t.  And I’m pretty sure it is all my fault.

I fully support reducing your carbon footprint.  I turn off the lights and unplug my cell phone charger.  I opt for my bike whenever possible, and plant four trees in place of every one I cut down.  The only problem:  I don’t know how to recycle. 

The state of Oregon has tried to make recycling easy.  Instead of separate bins for materials, I can throw it all into one giant bin; a giant bin outside and miles away from the kitchen where I rinse my tuna cans.  They charge more than any other State in the Union for soda and water in hopes of bribing me into returning my tin and plastic.  Still, having to go to eight different stores (because of “maximum return limits”) with a car full of sticky bottles does not make me want to nickel and dime the State.   Plus the eight showers required to remove the odor of month old Pepsi probably nullify the  bottle return karma. Last year our senate even voted to allow food particles in the recycle bin.  Proteins being the exception, so no pizza boxes allowed.  For some reason I keep forgetting to venture into the rain to throw my apple core into the recycle bin.  Maybe because I’m too busy trying to get the pizza box to fit into the ten gallon can in the kitchen.

Really I’ve tried to recycle, but my recycling abilities are remedial at best. 

I forget which number needs to be inside the little triangle, which colors of paper are forbidden, whether pastel drawings make newsprint unacceptable.  My garbage man has tried to be patient with me, but apparently five pink plastic flamingos were the final straw.  For the record, pink plastic flamingos ARE NOT recyclable.  A fact firmly stated last week in a letter from the garbage man along with a number of resources available to me to better educate me on proper use of the recycle bin.  I am afraid if we are ever to make the green list, I will either have to further educate myself or move out of the State.   I hear they don’t recycle in Jersey.

As hard as it is for me to get my tuna can in the brown bin as opposed to the grey, I have no difficulty recycling the mistakes I’ve made.  My life mantra is: rerue, remorse, regret.  I use my sins as explanation for all my misfortunes, my transgressions for all my trials, my errors for all my tribulations.  I blame myself for all the hurts that my children endure.  I stand convinced that my husband would have more if I could only be more.  I hold hostage the wrongs that I’ve done in order to justify what I do (or do not) deserve.

I can spend days agonizing over something stupid I said.  I will shy away from people who I know have seen me at my worst.  I will avoid relationships all together because I know that I will fail, and I am not convinced that I am forgivable.

God does not have a recycle bin for our faults.  He does not keep a landfill of our failures.  God takes all the things  that we hold against ourselves, the things that we hold against one another, and He places them as far as the East is from the West.  There is no recalling them, no reusing them, no recycling them.  They are not to be brought up as charges pending, punishment eminent, blackmail binding. 

That is the depth of God’s forgiveness, the power of Christ’s blood, the purpose of Calvary:  as far as the East is from the West.   It is a depth that we experience as we place all of our sins into His hand, and allow them to be cast far from us.  It is the power to overcome the things that bind us, that hinder us from  walking in the freedom that forgiveness brings.  It is the purpose that we, who have been forgiven much, should love much: I who need no longer relive my past must also not weigh others down with theirs.

Pink Flamingos and all our sins:  neither belongs in the recycle bin (or the front yard for that matter).

Recycle that!