A Piece of Trash?
Sometimes, it’s the littlest things…
We were driving to early services last Sunday morning, my darling wife at the wheel -- I in the right seat. I was mentally reviewing the events of the week and mulling over all the bad news and political developments I’d monitored (part of my job) during the week, and mourning the termination of an acquaintance with an old former high-school friend over a political discussion that “went south”.
In other words, I was feeling grumpy and not a little self-absorbed.
Suddenly, as Evelyn was driving into a right turn onto the next road on our route, my eyes were “struck” by a brief but piercing flash of brilliant white light from something in the “left turn lane” of the road we were turning onto.
Looking more closely -- I saw that the flash had come from a small piece of trash that had been tossed onto the roadway by some inconsiderate driver. It was a seemingly insignificant rectangular “box” of transparent cellophane – the top of the clear wrapper of a hard-pack of cigarettes -- that had caught a tiny part of the light of the morning sun and -- momentarily -- reflected it at me.
My mind went to a “devotional” I’d read several years before. In it the writer had referred to an old Spanish saying that “If one wishes to become invisible, all one must do is think absolutely nothing about oneself for three days.” He went on to expand on the idea that if we were to be less self-centered and more Christ-centered, the light of God’s love could shine thru us to illuminate a broken and dark world (no, really – my mind is a strange -- and sometimes wonderful -- place).
Then I recalled something that has recurred in my meditations quite a few times more recently -- my addictions and self-centeredness and selfish assertions of my will are like dirt on a mirror – the more I can clear them away, the better job I could do of reflecting the Grace and love that the Lord has shone so brightly into my life into the lives of those around me (like my erstwhile friend, for example).
So, both analogies were confounded – this tiny piece of transparent trash, dumped where the rules and opinions of this world say it should not be, illuminated the eyes of a grumpy old man and moved his mind from his self-centered obsessions to thoughts of light and love and service. Hallelujah!
And a new metaphor emerges: even when this world “dumps” us – even if the consensus opinion is that you’re someplace "you don’t belong” -- even if you’ve been called “nothing but a piece of trash” – and even if you’ve come to believe that yourself – the Light of Heaven can both shine thru you and can be reflected by you -- to change the course of another’s life.
God is GOOD!