Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

We Have to Touch the Problem

I had talked about doing it for a few weeks. Finally, I got off the couch and moved. I opened the door of the kitchen cabinet under the sink and took out two big black trash bags. I walked out through our front door, down the driveway, and began. . . .

There was nothing glamorous about the work, but I reminded myself that sometimes it is important to work for your community even when it doesn't feel like you are doing much. I leaned over, and with just two fingers I gingerly picked up a cup and straw from a fine fast-food establishment called Checkers down the street. I tried not to think about what germs might be multiplying on this nasty cup and made a mental note to buy a pair of gloves for next time. I moved on down the street and picked up pieces from a broken pot on the sidewalk. I picked up candy-bar wrappers. A few liquor bottles. Beer cans. Coke bottles. Empty bags of chips. Glass fragments. A plastic bag. A syringe. (Oh, God, protect me!) Gum wrappers. On and on. It didn't stop. . . .

A homeless guy I had never seen in my life yelled at me across the street. "Hey, I think you missed a few," he shouted. "Over there in the bushes, you missed a few." Thanks (I think . . . ), I thought.

I picked up the trash in the bushes and realized my two bags were full, so I turned around and started walking home. As I walked back just four blocks, I saw more and more trash littering the streets and parking lots that I hadn't even touched and didn't have enough space for in my two measly trash bags. I put the trash out in our green trash bin and walked back in the front door. Done, but not done at all.

As I slumped down on the couch, trying to feel good about what I had done, I realized ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedFaith for the Post-Christian Heart: A Conversation with Francis Spufford
Faith for the Post-Christian Heart: A Conversation with Francis Spufford
For the UK writer, Christianity must first make sense in the realm of lived experience.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickWatch and Wait
Watch and Wait
Tarrying with Christ and the fearful dying.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.