I dropped a tissue on my walk the other day. (Exciting news, right??) As usual, noticing the dropped tissue began my new contemplation… 🙂
Often on my daily walks I will pick up trash along the way. I figure that even if I only pick up one piece a day, at the end of the month I will have cleared thirty. I love caring for the earth. I love making my path cleaner and more beautiful. So you can imagine my dismay when I was returning on the path I had walked earlier- and found one of MY tissues on the ground! It must have fallen out of my pocket when I had reached in for another.
I was reminded of this confession from The Book of Common Prayer:
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
in your compassion forgive us our sins,
known and unknown,
things done and left undone;
and so uphold us by your Spirit
that we may live and serve you in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of your Name…
Most of my sins seem quite obvious to me! But maybe our unknown sins are like that tissue I dropped.
Of course I don’t believe that accidentally dropping a tissue is a sin, as unsightly as it is. But the tissue reminds me that I can feel self-righteous about being quick to notice and fix another’s ‘trash’ while not seeing my own. Or that I can feel judgmental about someone else’s ‘litter’ without knowing how or why it happened. Or that I can have a feeling of superiority (I would never litter!) when I am so imperfect- especially in ways I might not see.
We are all walking this path together. Each of us has our own trash- the stuff that isn’t pleasing or beautiful. Once in a while that trash comes out, whether known or unknown to us. The tissue is a reminder that we are all called to make this world a more beautiful place. But to keep bearing in mind that there will be times when we too will need someone to clean up after us, whether we know it or not! Perhaps in doing so, we could all begin to walk this path with a little more grace, a little more understanding, and a greater spirit of teamwork. Walking in love and cleaning up messes together, our journey can become a way of living and serving God “in newness of life.”