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
RecommendedA United Evangelical Response: The System Failed Eric Garner
A United Evangelical Response: The System Failed Eric Garner
What pastors, professors, and others are saying about the grand jury's decision not to indict.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickSt. Nick, Patron of Pawn Shops
St. Nick, Patron of Pawn Shops
The little-known history of Christianity’s icon of generosity.
Comments
Christianity Today
We Have to Touch the Problem
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

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