"Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles,
and pray at all times." Romans 12:12
William Rathje is a Harvard educated anthropologist and researcher. He studies garbage and through his study of trash he discovers society. The Garbage Project is the name of his organization, which travels across the continent, excavating landfills and documenting our eating habits, dress styles and economic levels. Allow me to share some of his findings.
- The average household wastes 10-15 % of its solid food.
- The average American produces half a pound of trash per day,
- The largest landfill in America is located near New York City and it has enough trash to fill the Panama Canal.
- Trash decomposes slower than we think – Rathje has found a whole steak from 1973 and a readable newspaper from the Truman presidency.
Rathje says “we can learn about a lot looking at our junk.” What if we learn to do the same? Let’s suppose we change the way we view the garbage that comes our way? These past few months with City Impact I have had a lot of garbage heaped on us. How about you? Hospital and doctor bills cut in budgets, broken promises, an almost depleted “credit line”.
I read on Rathje’s office wall is framed this headline. “Gold in Garbage.” This garbologist finds treasure in trash. We too have a choice, what to do with garbage? Here are some of our options. We could hide it. We could take the trash bag and cram it under our coat or we could even pretend it isn’t there. But, you and I both know in a matter of days everyone is going to notice the smell. Or we can do what God want us to do with it. His response would probably be – see it through my eyes. What do I mean? Let’s see the gold in the garbage. Romans 8:35-37 says “In all these things we have full victory through God.” Interesting that Paul uses the preposition “In” not “apart from all these things”, or “without all these things”. The solution is not to avoid trouble but to change the way we see our troubles.
God can correct your and my vision, there are plenty of examples in scripture - Balaam saw the angel, Elisha saw the army, Jacob saw the ladder and Saul saw the Savior. I believe that is why the born blind man asked Jesus, “Teacher, I want to see.” Loved ones, who is to say God won’t do the same for you and me today?
Thank you so very much for your sacrificial gifts which you have given to continue the work of City Impact. Please know it does make a difference in the lives of at-risk children, youth and families.
With much Gratitude,
Betty Alvarez Ham