I believe each person, upon their birth, is issued a metaphoric garbage can and a treasure box. We carry them around with us every where we go stuffing them full with life experiences. The part in the school play we didn’t get, the girl who made fun of us because we didn’t own or wear the cool clothes, the abusive parent all dumped in the garbage can for us to rummage through time and again. As we age, the garbage can gets heavier and heavier as we drag it along. Stuffed so full, we occasionally stop at intervals in our lives to tamp it down to make even more room. We drag it dutifully. “It’s ours”, we say, sigh and soldier on.
The treasure box, on the other hand, fits neatly under our arm. On occasion we open it and hear the sweet sound of a younger sibling calling out our name. We close our eyes and can smell Grandmother’s raison bread, and remember how it tasted fresh and hot out of the oven, and we smile. We sit quietly and we feel once again the child we carried inside us. Did that miracle really happen? We feel the arms of a good friend around us and we hear the relief and joy in her voice as she tells us that the tumor was benign. But all too soon, the treasure box gets snapped shut. There it is that pesky garbage can getting in the way. We must attend to it before someone knocks it over, spilled for the whole world to see. Some of us get so good at depositing garbage that we start to carry other people’s garbage as well as our own.
I believe people need to be reminded of two very important things about these metaphoric items that are carried around with us. First, from time to time the trash just needs to be taken out, deposited in the waste heap and forgotten. We make the road we travel so very weary needlessly when we forget to take out the trash. We put all of our energy in dragging that trash around we forget about the little treasure box under our arm. Some of us might even drop our treasure box, losing it forever along with all the precious wonders and joys of our lifetime.
Secondly, I believe people need to regularly open the treasure box and experience the joy and the beauty of our lives. We should remember and share these wonderful memories. So the next time life’s disappointments get you down, you need to stop and ask yourself, is it time to take out the trash?
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