I saw a vision today of a garbage truck driving by the home I grew up in. The yard was picturesque, the property was well-maintained, and the grass was so lush and green. Flowers were in bloom, the lawn was freshly mowed, and the sky was blue. And then a loud, stinky garbage truck drove by.
Truth be told, this is actually what it was like growing up. My parents were diligent in creating and maintaining a beautiful home, inside and out (in case you’re wondering where my tidy tendencies come from, it’s both of my parents who gifted that to me!). The yard really was beautiful all year round, and it was only the blue sky from my vision that changed to gray and rainy, since it was in the Seattle area.
As I was admiring the scene in front of me during the vision, I was struck with the image of some trash flying out of the back of the garbage truck and landing in our yard as the truck went on its way, unaware that it had left behind a souvenir of sorts.
And here’s what came through as I watched this unfold…our yard is our responsibility. Whether there’s trash in it because of our own actions, because of someone else’s intentional action, or because of something completely accidental (i.e. trash flying out of a garbage truck), it’s still our responsibility to clean it up!
Let’s say, for instance, you hosted a party at your home and then your home is in a bit of disarray the following day. Even though the party was fun and awesome, there’s still just sometimes things that get left behind or turned over or brought about that need addressing.
Or, perhaps you were minding your own business and enjoying a peaceful afternoon, sitting on your porch, sipping tea, when someone walks by and throws their empty soda can into your yard because they’re done with it and there wasn’t a garbage can nearby. Ideal? Heck no. Disrespectful? Yes. But unless this is a repeat offender who does this to your yard over and over (or is wreaking havoc on the neighborhood by doing this everywhere – which is a different post for a different time), it’s way less energy to simply pick up the can after they leave and dispose of it rather than try to chase them down and have a confrontation.
Hear me on this – I’m not at all condoning what they did. It’s rotten behavior. Maybe they were raised in an environment where littering wasn’t a big deal. Maybe they did it with mal intent and really wanted to trash your yard and tick you off. Maybe they had a ridiculous hand cramp and just could not for the life of them hold onto that can for another second. Whatever their reason (and I do mean *whatever* their reason), it’s still YOUR responsibility to clean up YOUR yard!
Bringing it back to the garbage truck and the vision I had – it was highlighted to me that in this vision, the trash in the garbage truck represents other people’s “stuff.” All the residue from life that they have been growing through, ridding themselves of, and healing from. It’s all the “ick” that they don’t want anymore, and that they have been diligent to clean out of their yards.
And try as you may, and even with how intentional they were to throw out their trash, double-bag it, and put it in the dumpster, sometimes trash flies out of the back of a garbage truck and lands in your yard. You’re not inviting it. You’re not calling it in. You’re not wishing and hoping and looking for trash. It just landed there.
They weren’t intending it to land there – when they threw it out, they were intending it to go to the dump. The garbage man wasn’t intending it to fly out of the truck, but perhaps the cover got loose, or a flap wasn’t tied down as tight as they thought. Maybe one of the bags tore when it was thrown into the truck and the trash was no longer contained.
Life happens and so much of what happens in life is not under our control. But what IS under our control is cleaning up our own yard. Whatever the reason is behind trash landing there – whether it’s from you or someone else. Whether it’s intentional or not – doesn’t matter.
What matters is, it’s YOUR yard, and it’s YOUR responsibility to clean it up. If it’s a massive job, or too heavy for you to pick up on your own, you may get to ask for support. You may even need to bring in some heavy machinery to do some massive overhaul if the trash has been collecting for a while. But it’s still up to YOU to clean YOUR yard.
Whether you take this metaphorically and look at the emotional, mental, psychological trash that’s in your yard, or whether you take it literally and have actual, physical trash to clean up – go for it! Clean it up!
Don’t let a garbage truck driving by ruin your experience of this beautiful life (aka “piece of property”).