I was reading about a plastic-free lifestyle the other day and wondered how many people have thought about reducing more of the non-practical items in their lives. These things are usually obvious, written about frequently, and lamented by those who are affected by them. They are damaging pollutants, but I don’t suppose many people think of them as being surplus to their lives in the same way as getting rid of plastic bags!
On the one hand, some people count the articles in their wardrobes, take cloth bags to the shops, and reduce the number of times they put out their recycling bins for collection: all praiseworthy goals. But have they counted other items in their collections of unnecessary stuff? How often have I? Can you guess what kinds of things I mean?
We might say that there’s a limit to how much we can rid ourselves of ‘indispensable’ parts of our personalities. Shouldn’t we save them for an emergency? Here are some examples that come to mind, such as the ability to ‘say it like it is’ even when the recipient doesn’t want to hear our opinion. Or the body language that proclaims to everyone that I think I’m superior to others, or the pushing and shoving that some people do in a queue. You can probably think of a few more!
Should we claim that we’re allowed to keep certain traits that we’ve always had, the personality tendencies that we want to be able to use when we feel like it? Is that freedom? And should we hang onto the notion that no-one has the right to tell us how we ought to behave?
As I thought about this approach to reducing, even rejecting, these aspects of our lives, I looked back at some of my own rubbish and decided I’ve had more than a few pieces that were surplus to the needs of the world around me.
I remember being in the supermarket in a small town where we lived many years ago. Two ladies were chatting in the aisle, their trolleys blocking my way. I could have said, ‘Excuse me’, or just waited while they finished their conversation. But no, I was in a hurry!
So I pushed my trolley towards them and without any bidding from me, one of my surplus extras flew off and landed on them. In other words, I didn’t resist the temptation to be rude, and bumped my trolley into theirs! Oops!! Oh dear.
They turned from their chat and apologised, but I didn’t acknowledge them. I spent the rest of my shopping feeling bad about the impression I’d created – it was a small town, remember! I was glad their reaction wasn’t as violent as mine. I didn’t deserve their grace. I was the one who should have been allowing grace to flow towards them.
I don’t suppose any of you nice readers have any experiences like that in your background. (I write this blog to speak to myself!)
In my world of hurry and bustle, I often regret how I omit to think before I act. I should remember the proverb that wise King Solomon of Israel wrote.
A commonsense person lives good sense; fools litter the country with silliness. – Proverbs 13:16 – The Message Bible