Life is Sweet at the Dump
My most recent trip to our dump (aka County Convenience Station) provided spiritual and nutritional nourishment.
I’ve written before about the interesting assortment of characters you can often find when dropping off trash and recyclables at the nearby station. Today was a goldmine.
Since we’ve been experiencing a heatwave coupled with severe afternoon thunderstorms, I set a goal to drop our trash early in the morning while it was still “cool” and no lightning. I set that goal over my morning coffee. Around 9AM. I was kind of burning daylight but I did manage to leave the house shortly after 10AM.
As I pulled into the drop off site, I was pleased to find the one car ahead of me had pulled in straight rather than backing into position. I liked them already. There was an empty spot on their left and right but since they had the driver’s door open, I pulled in on the right side of the little white car.
A gray-bearded elderly gentleman reached his trunk about the same time I reached mine. Not sure what possessed me to do it, but I INTENTIONALLY made eye contact and told him ‘Good morning’. We exchanged a couple pleasantries and when I asked how he was doing, he said “I’m getting old.” I snickered and began to carry my trash bags between our two vehicles. By that point, a sweet little lady in the passenger seat had put her window down and spoke as I passed by. “Sir, could I share my Bible verses with you?” I said ‘sure!’ and accepted a folded piece of paper with a smile. She seemed pleased.
I headed toward the front of their vehicle in order to toss my trash bags in the compactor (making sure I didn’t lose the sweet grandma’s scriptures). About that time, the bearded gentleman hobbled around his side of the car with a plastic grocery bag bulging with yellow squash. “How about some squash today?” he said. Now there was a time when I would have flatly refused to accept food from strangers, but something just felt different today. I told him I couldn’t take them all but I sure would like a few to go with the zucchini we were growing at home. (That was to build common ground between us a gardeners.) I pulled a handful of squash out of his bag and told him to have a blessed day. He was pleased with the transaction. I smiled to the sweet lady on the passenger side and gave her a wave as I got back inside my car. As I backed out, I noticed the man was approaching the site workers with the remainder of his squash.
As I drove home, I played the scene over and over again in my mind. Such a simple interaction but so full of promise and blessings. I could hear the lady sharing with her Sunday School class this weekend how she had fulfilled her promise to carry God’s word into the world. And her husband shared his garden bounty with a stranger. And at the dump, no less! Isn’t God good? And the class would answer “All the time!”
While the above events were actually playing out, I was telling myself what a service I was doing by allowing this elderly couple to have their moment in the sun. But I think the tables were turned and I was the one who truly got the blessing. All because I made eye contact, spoke in a friendly manner, and opened myself up to receiving what came my way.
Only in the South can you hear the Gospel according to Yellow Squash while you are at the dump.