Curbside Pick Up, by Susan Nash
It was cold but beautiful and the outside was beckoning as the place to do tabata , an interval training of running and walking that has made a difference in my health. So as I began to cover the ground just in the neighborhood sometimes walking, sometimes running, I began to notice trash piles. A number of Christmas trees, boxes galore, tree limbs, even rocks and pieces of sidewalk littered the streets waiting for pick up. Hugh bags of leaves had been deposited curbside with more leaves already promising future bags.
I passed house after house with similar discards—things that had been useful but now needed someone to come and take them out of the neighborhood so order and beauty could be re-established. I thought about the moments, the memories, the joys and sadness that these items represented. Perhaps, it was the best Christmas ever, or maybe the disappointment of a gift that never arrived. The remains of meals served and families and friends gathered or the Lean Cuisine that promised a slimmer body in the new year. Children’s toy boxes bringing noise and action into the household and the containers that had housed baby strollers and car seats indicating the first Christmas ever for a new arrival. All that was left of these past moments were now the remains left by the curb for everyone to see and for the sanitation department, the recycling truck and the tree eaters to come and remove.
It put me in mind of another kind of trash—garbage, remains—that needs to be removed. The words, thoughts, actions that should never have been spoken, conceived, implemented—that tore up a marriage, that destroyed a corporation, that ended a life, that ruptured a relationship, that wrecked a home, that lost us a job, that ignited an addiction, . . .. They clutter the rooms of our souls, but where is the curb that receives these as garbage to be carted away so that we can be restored to order and beauty? Don’t you wish we could toss them in a nice, big, reinforced, plastic drawstring bag, then tie it and drag it to the curb and forget it. That way you don’t have to deal with it any longer or even think about it. Let someone else take charge of it and remove it from the premises.
But, thank God, there is someone like that in our lives! He has taken the negative and twisted thoughts that germinated into words that found their target like a nuclear missile and led to a life, a home, a community, a culture, humanity torn and blown up. He came to take away our sin and to make us new. He came to forgive and restore beyond that. The amazing thing is that His action has us covered for life. Everyday we can recognize these failings to Him and He removes them. As far as the east is from the west, so far, He removes our sins from us. They have been nailed to the cross and we bear them no more. Now, that is sanitation!
“He who had no sin became sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God.”
He not only removed our sin, but left a life-giving deposit in its place. What an incredible service! My old words, attitudes, and actions are replaced by an indwelling Spirit that transforms me.
My walk was over, but my gratitude had only begun.