I took my trash out last night. I know what you are thinking: Man, what a hook! Can’t wait to read on. To that, I simply say this: “Shut up.”
Moving on . . . I took my trash out last night and today I left my house. Ooooo, now it’s getting good. Stop doing that, okay? We’re never going to get through this if you keep it up.
Leaving my driveway, I noticed that the bag I had our trash in was wide open, though I distinctly remember tying it shut the night before. Now I don’t know if a raccoon with a merit-badge in knotwork happened upon it in the night or what, but I do know it was tied up and now it was gaping open, as wide as it could be.
When I got to work, I checked some emails and the real news, took down a few notes from the book I read last night, and then got on with my day, but first I checked Facebook and then got on another “news” site. It is the Yahoo news and it reports on all sorts of things: like which celebrity wore what and who wore it better, who took a spicy selfie, which celebrity turned down a HUGE role twenty years ago, and so on. Basically it is the pinnacle of stuff that absolutely shouldn’t matter to basically anyone. But there I was, scrolling through mindless story after mindless story.
Back to the trash. Leaving that bag open as it was brought on a much higher likelihood that trash would blow all about the yard and neighborhood. It would just be scattered all over the place: all sorts of trash, all sorts of places. The fix would have been to tie the knot up tight. Keep it contained till the trash guys and gals can come and take it to the magic trash land. I didn’t though, and now we’ll see if there are consequences when I get home. And there may not be. It isn’t all that windy today, so perhaps things stayed in their proper place, and all will be well with the world. But if I leave a bloated trashbag open like that enough times, eventually there will be fall out–namely, I’ll spend hours of my evening gathering up debris and avoiding my head-wagging wife.
Someone left the trashbag of this world open, I think. Seriously, there is junk strewn all over the place. That website I was on scrolling through the “news” . . . most the stories are wadded up pieces of gossip, empty milk cartons of stupidity, rotten scraps of idolatry.
I don’t necessarily think the junk is bad morally in many cases. But it is sort of what I do with it that counts. If I allow the junk of this world into my heart, to have some sort of hold on me, well, that would be like marching that open trashbag up to my living room and scattering it about. Pretty soon I wouldn’t even be able to smell the stink of it because I’d be so very familiar (even fond) of it. I won’t realize what a tidy life could even look and feel like because the junkyard I’ve created is all I know.
The point is simple, at least for me it is. I need to guard my time. Every second I spend perusing the web aimlessly is like leaving an open trashbag in the yard of my heart: sure, nothing may happen . . . or a mess could begin. And I’m not talking about murderous consequences here either, but we are talking death. If you think about life, and the limited ticks of the clock each of us has, man, how many do I really want spend considering the former cast of Full House and what they are up to now? And if I gather up all the time I waste on utter nonsense, what might I have been able to accomplish that may actually count for something?
Keeping the trash of this world tightly controlled in how it affects my mind and heart, keeps my life focused on the right messes. It redeems my time by having more of my precious seconds spent on things that truly matter, things I’m actually passionate about, things that enhance the lives of those around me (including my own).
The trash is all over the place, but that doesn’t mean I have to nestle into it. I can choose the treasures of life instead. I can tie the bag in a double-knot and keep control of my thoughts, emotions, and my worldview. I can pursue the better, the fuller, the richer, and I can live free from the junk that so easily entangles.