Garbage in, Garbage out!
I was at a learning weekend the past four days. The teachings take place within the context of community with some alone time to integrate the teachings. On Sunday afternoon as I was cleaning the shower and toilet building, I thought about the teachings of both that day and the previous days. I was conscious of the different occasions and people who had, through no fault of their own, become teachers for me around communication issues. I must admit I had not finished the work needed to integrate the whole teaching…there were moments of inner fuss and grumblings.

I was particularly frustrated with the number of times I had come to the compost bucket brimming with the need to be emptied and the contents buried and the plain old garbage needed to be emptied as well. I emptied and buried the compost once…grumbling and when I was done I acknowledged to myself that it had not been a hard task to do. The next day I encountered a much to full wastebasket, I emptied with a little less grumbling and but still with some annoyance. The next day, I walked into that kitchen in the morning and saw the garbage basket full…. AGAIN! I wanted to just walk by and not notice, but I did. So with more sound than was needed I grunted and groaned, so it would not be lost on any bystanders. And I put a new bag in!

So…here I was doing my community chore all by myself and again I have garbage to do. So I say to myself, “I will take it in to the kitchen and just dump it in the big garbage can…I don’t have to take it out!” So I move forward with my intent and guess what, the garbage can has some room…not very much, but enough that I can leave the can for SOMEONE ELSE TO DO.

Which I do and I head back out to my quiet kingdom to finish up the last aspects of my chore. As I clean, I begin to ask God, “Hey, what’s the deal? Why am I the only one to see the full garbage can? (I know that I am in a little bit of exaggeration here) And then from a place deep in the teachings of the weekend, God answers… “The garbage waits for you to carry it out over and over, because so far this weekend you have not done it once out of a place of love and service for your community!”

WOW…I heard the truth of the words deep in the cells of my body…they were correct. Shortly after I heard this inside, I found more garbage in the area where I was working and decided to go back in and get the almost full garbage can and empty it. After that can, I went on a search for full baskets throughout the house and took them out to be emptied. It felt much different and so much lighter to do the task from a place of love and service.

I didn’t get all the learnings worked out doing my chore, but perhaps I got the best one to reframe my walk as a pilgrim.