Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trash Day

After my usual routine of dropping off Carli at pre-school yesterday, I had the occasion to catch a bit of a sermon from one of my favorite broadcasted pastors, Dr. Stanley. I like Dr. Stanley because he always says one thing that fixes my attention on what he is saying, "listen". He says this word very often during his sermons and with my attention span of a cocker spaniel puppy, the redirection of hearing the word "listen" when he is about to make a point is a welcome interruption to my ever wandering mind.

Of what his main point was in yesterday's delivery, I don't know. What I do know is what he spoke of for the last five minutes of his address, resentment. I know that resentment is a poisonous affliction that many of us have fallen ill with from time to time. I have struggled with it like everyone. I have let things go with others, thought that I have forgiven only to find myself simmering in the same old feelings all over again. I get upset with myself for the exercise of rehashing, chide myself for once again choosing to feel hurt and unjustified in my pain when I know that I don't have to. No one is making me relive the events and feel the feelings. I am electing to do it. Why? I am not telling you I have the answers. I am just telling on myself so you know that you are not alone.

What Dr. Stanley said was this and please allow me to paraphrase "carrying around resentment is like dragging around a bag of garbage with you all day". When he said that, I put my mind to the task of really picturing that scenario. I thought of a big, green plastic bag full of trash. I thought of what it would be like to sack around with me. I've taken out the trash at my house plenty of times. A full bag of trash weighs a lot. For a 5' 3" woman like myself, it is awkward to pick up and carry out of the house, never mind lift into the barrel outside. On a hot summer day as we have had lately, trash smells really rotten. When I have to lift the lid to put another bag inside, I hold my breath and pray that I can get the chore done and close the lid before I have to inhale again. No matter how long I have held my breath, I can still smell that awful odor as I walk away. You can't escape it. No other smell comes close. It has it's own unique odor. If you say "it smells like trash" everyone knows what you are talking about.

I thought of this trash scenario and what it would be like if I didn't put my trash in the barrel. What if I left it in the back of my car and drove around with it all day? What would my car smell like on a sunny Floridian summer day of almost 100 degrees if I left my trash in the back of my SUV? Would anyone want a ride in my car? Would I want to get in? How would my drive be if I had to sit along side my rotting, smelly trash every day? I pondered as Dr. Stanley spoke. Wrinkling my nose automatically at the thought. It made my throat feel tight.

I love his analogy. It fits perfectly when I think of resentment. By choosing to relive hurt and conjure up feelings of anger and hurt towards another, I am volunteering myself to carry around a big bag of trash all day long. I am choosing to drive around with it in my car, sit along side it in my house and lay down next to it in my bed. When I want to vent my resentment to others I am really lifting the lid to my trash barrel and asking people to stick their head in and grab a big whiff of the smell. Is this really what I want to do, to make my day full of refuse? That's what it really is. It is the aftermath of a situation or conversation that you can do nothing about. It is over and it is too late to change the results. You can decide to throw the effects away or carry it around with you. Problem with carrying it around is that with each passing day, it starts to stink. Failure to dispose of it leaves others around you to start to notice the stench every time you speak of your offender.

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