When Waste Awakens Me

I’ve had this strange relationship with waste lately.

And not just the noun, but the verb.

And not just the stuff. Our apartment complex certainly doesn’t have recycling, so every cardboard box and glass bottle is thrown away with a wince.

But me & waste, we go beyond the kitchen garbage.

The truth is, I’m afraid of it, afraid to miss an afternoon that could be well-spent, afraid to ruin a date with the wrong movie, afraid to squander my Saturday morning with the wrong book as company.

And at moments, afraid I’ll miss catching the sweetest and tenderest part of my boys’ hearts or my lover’s smile.


We went on that date Wednesday afternoon, and my heart kept jumping back and forth– 3 hours at a coffee shop? Popcorn and a movie? What movie? Which coffee shop?

Isn’t indecisiveness exhausting?

I sit at the couch with my Jan Karon book, half reading because I’m wondering if I should switch to Rosetta Stone French, or actually take a nap or do the dishes or, or, or…..rest my overworking brain!

Waste is a big monster who reminds me that life is vapor, fleeting, vain.

Or, perhaps waste is a slap in the face, a wake-up call that reminds me to cherish the days, hours, moments I’ve been given.

A dad stoops to take a picture of his little girl, blonde-red hair, big smile, striped hoodie and tiny doughnut in hand.

He waits for his coffee, they nibble away together, smile, enjoy, take in, understand the beauty of this moment, here in a coffee shop on a Saturday morning.

Isaiah learns to walk, slowly, slowly, and Dad holds his hand as we head down the broken, cracked, and mossy sidewalk. Not wasted.


So let us recognize waste, our fear of it, and battle it with our recycling bins and with whole-hearted relationships, with full-eared listening and full-bellied laughs. Heck, let’s share a doughnut or two over coffee while we’re at it.

Because life is gift.


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