Recycling is a part of all our lives

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 26, 2012

Victoria was oblivious to the seconds ticking by. I watched as she calmly and purposefully moved throughout the house, gathering the items needed for one of the final days of her junior year of high school.

Book bag. Check.

Cheerleader bag. Check.

Letterman jacket. Check.

Two bags of garbage. Wait! Stop! Two bags of garbage?

“Where are you going with that?”

“I’m going to stop at the recycling bin before school.” Yes. The recycling project she began last month continues.

“Why, Victoria? Why the sudden interest in recycling?”

“Just doing my part.”

Actually Victoria was doing more than her part. She worked for all of us when she snatched up the empty cans and water bottles we habitually threw in the trash. What I thought would be a passing phase in her never dull life has quickly become her daily routine.

Motivated by nothing more than guilt over not supporting her latest endeavor, I’ve joined in and even made a couple of trips to the recycling bin without her. Once she got me started, I began to realize how little time and effort it takes to put aside paper, plastic and aluminum for recycling. To exchange what is no longer good for a usable product. Before I knew it, I was going through garbage cans in the bathrooms and bedrooms, salvaging plastic bottles to add to our growing recycling bin.

At first, I thought recycling was a new activity in our home. It’s really not. God has been at work recycling, reusing, restoring and recovering for quite a while in my life. He takes my mistakes and turns them into life lessons. He dusts off the dreams shelved in discouragement and breathes new life into my renewed efforts. He instructs me to convert my worries about children into prayers, which then develops into a deeper trust and faith for their future. And He takes moments in my life, like a tiny slice of Victoria’s morning, and freezes it into another memory.

So, thank you, Victoria, for the lessons recycling has brought. May you always look for opportunities to redeem what others toss and find value in places others walk past. But don’t start with me about being a vegetarian. You’re on your own with that one.

Ronny may be reached at