I grew up in a household that recycled long before anyone ever heard of going green. Jelly and mayonnaise jars were used as drinking glasses. The week's leftovers became a pot of soup on the weekend. We wore hand-me-down clothes, which were passed down to younger siblings, and from them on to younger relatives. Recycling is a good thing when it comes to bottles, clothes, soda cans, oatmeal boxes, batteries, newspapers, and food. But I want to talk about another form of recycling, i.e., continuing a cycle.
The story begins with my daughter's co-worker, a 52-year old man who spent the last five decades waiting and wishing to hear his macho father say the words, "I love you." His mother died when he was a toddler and the father raised the three children. In 52 years the son never received any affection from his father - not an "I'm proud of you" or "Way to go" or "Great job son!" There were no hugs, no pats on the back, no bodily contact other than a handshake. And as the father lies on a death bed, the son wants nothing more than to hear his dad say, "I love you." Sadly he has been holding on to all the pain, fear and rejection since childhood, thereby repeating the cycle of, "You'd better not let a tear drop from that eye." So during the son's Easter visit with his dad, he built up the strength to say these four words to his father: DAD, I LOVE YOU. And guess which four words his dad said back: I LOVE YOU, TOO. On Monday he announced to my daughter, "I am healed." Now, instead of this man continuing to carry past decades of pain and resentment into his future, he has taken the first step toward transforming that cycle into something bigger, better, and more powerful. Imagine what he can do with that new mindset!!
Too many of us wait on others to do what we should be doing. Somewhere in the Bible we are instructed to give the very thing we want. (I don't know where to find the chapter and verse but it's on one of the pages between Genesis and Revelation.) That is the law of the universe. We must sow before we can reap anything. Sadly, our nature is to wait for someone to fill our empty spaces, especially in relationships. But it doesn't work that way. We must do as the son in this story and be willing to give what we want -- with no preconceived notions of what we expect in return.
Change begins with the man or woman in our mirror. That's where it starts...with each one of us. We can't wait for someone else to step up to the plate, but that's exactly what we do. Would we, could we have the courage to make an effort to initiate change in our lives? As with recycling, by each of us doing a little it will equal all of us together making a big difference. Recycling is all about using what we have to create a change -- not so much for our generation, but for the benefit of generations to come.
Remember, no matter what you have experienced in life, even the most disgusting things can be recycled and made into something beautiful. Food is transformed into compost which is used to make fertilizer. Although fertilizer stinks, it helps to grow some amazing things. So whatever kind of trash you have accumulated in your life, stop doing the same old thing with it. It's time to make fertilizer out of our mess so that our offspring can benefit and become something beautiful.
Be all you can be!
YoBo & Shelley B.