• Kara Lynn Richardson

Even Lives and Relationships Need Recycling

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."

Matthew 6:14

Over the last few years, I've started doing things to reduce my footprint on this earth. I don't like labels, and normally don't jump on anyone's bandwagon, but I had a chance to see firsthand what waste does to an environment. And it wasn't pretty. My mom and I had started recycling fabrics for other projects and reselling previously owned clothing. But one of the simplest things we've started doing has been to recycle our papers, cans and plastics. Dallas does a bulk recycling pick up so all we have to do is dump our recyclables into one large bin that gets picked up once a week. And because everything gets dumped into one large bin, we gather everything together into one large bag in the house until it's full. Of course this often leads to mindless sorting. I can't tell you how many times I've had to fish recycling our of my son's trash bag. But even with all of our valiant efforts, we miss things. When we aren't intentional, we'll throw paper in the trash without thinking about it. Or worse, we'll throw trash into the recycling bin, contaminating the whole lot.

One of the major lessons recycling has taught me is that while it's never going to be perfect, it can be purposeful when done intentionally. The same is true with our lives and relationships. I wish I could tell you that life often gives us a straight path. But I can't because it doesn't. It zigzags. It narrows. And just when you think the path is starting to veer in the right direction, it loops around again. If we don't understand what our purpose is and forgive ourselves when we make mistakes, then we're destined to repeat our failures and, like bad recycling, will walk around living contaminated lives. And what about our relationships? Why is it that we work so hard to save the planet, but won't work hard to maintain meaningful human relationships? Why won't we forgive others like we would want to be forgiven? Has the perfection of social media made us forget how imperfect we, as humans, can be? Let me tell you, there is no perfect person out there, and while I'll never condone keeping toxic people in your life, there are those people who we have to intentionally put in the recycling bin of our hearts. Not every relationship is worth trashing. Forgive them and move together towards healing.

Recycling is not a perfect science. We're still learning how to cut down our waste. We're still learning how to not mix up our recycling. We're still learning how to just be healthy and whole. And even if we mess up, we'll keep trying, because it's worth it. Let's treat our lives and our relationships the same way. Recycle, whether it's trash, lives or people.

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