I was standing outside of the recycling center having a conversation with someone when suddenly I heard a crash. I turned and looked in the direction of the noise and saw an elderly woman in great distress, standing in utter shock staring at a large pile of garbage at her feet. As I sprinted her way to help, I deduced that she had been attempting to throw her garbage in the recycling bin when the bag broke and spilled everywhere!
As the woman started picking up the garbage, she was startled by my presence. I quickly said, “Here, let me help you with that”. She didn’t seem to know whether she wanted my help or not. Which made no sense to me, until I started helping.
You can learn a lot about someone by their garbage.
I never asked the woman her name, where she was from, or even how she was doing. But;, I can tell you the type of beer she drinks, the formula she takes every morning to help her with a health problem she has, and a couple other things I would prefer not to talk about here. After helping the woman, I understood why she probably would have rather not had my help. Garbage is intimate stuff.
It got me to thinking about my own personal baggage and garbage. I do not like people to see all my stuff; my quirks, oddities, and shortcomings. So, like everyone else, I keep most of this information to myself, and allow just a few people that I trust into those areas. The problem is, from time to time, our bag will break in public, and everyone can see our yuck. It happened to me this week. I was not kind, I was not patient, and I was not loving to someone. My garbage came out and several people saw it. I was embarrassed that I could act like that. In the end, I went back to the person and publicly apologized. I wished I could do more, but sometimes you can’t undo the mess, you just have to own it.
I learned two lessons from these two experiences. First, be kind to people when their garbage is exposed, and consider how much they would want you involved. Just because you see it doesn’t mean they want you to go through it with them. Secondly, I am switching to black garbage bags from now on. Just saying. For more information go to www.alovethatdoesntendure.co