Throwing out the trash

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 6, 2009

It always happens when I least expect it. One second I’m in the midst of a normal activity, and then my mind takes off in another, totally different direction. The simplest of scenes takes on much greater dimensions as God interjects His thoughts into my own.

It happened again in the St. Charles Catholic gym during a

volleyball game. I was seated next

to the student section, watching the game, when I noticed something happening on the first row. One

student was passing by when

another called his name and said, “Could you throw this away for me?” His friend reached for the empty can and took it to the


Initially, I was simply impressed that neither student threw the can to the floor. I hate litter. I don’t like seeing garbage cluttering up a place, nor do I enjoy tripping over someone else’s trash. Their parents taught them well, I thought, then returned my attention to the action on the court.

Later, that scene continued

to replay in my mind, and

I’ve learned by now to pay attention when this happens. As I thought about it, I realized that I had been sitting with some garbage of my own. Judgmental thoughts were weighing me down. I kept them to myself, not wanting to clutter up my home. Nor did I want my words to spill out, causing someone else to trip over my trash. However, I knew that if I didn’t clean up my act, I would eventually litter my surroundings with my negative words. I know myself. And I know that not just sometimes, but a lot of times, I need help.

Remembering that God doesn’t just pass by me but is with me always, gave me confidence

to pray. Lord, even if I have the strength to keep my words to myself, You know my thoughts, and

I don’t ever my thoughts to offend You. Give me the wisdom to know when to keep silent and when to speak. Help my words to be salted with Your truth and love, and not peppered by my anger and self-righteousness. And thank You

for speaking to me always, even at a volleyball game.

Ronny may be reached at