Woman on a Journey

A Letter from God

I’ve been struggling the past couple weeks.

Really, Maery? That’s so unlike you.

Stop being sarcastic.

I have no reason to feel as sad as I do, which in itself, makes me even sadder. I go through cycles. I used to call it cycles of depression but I’m reluctant to call it that now. It’s not as deep a low as I have felt in the past. It’s like comparing rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling pain that can immobilize you, to daily achiness, where you can get by with a heating pad and an occasional ibuprofen.

Monday, when I took a walk with my dogs, I left my earbuds and phone behind, wanting to eliminate all the outside noise and see if some kind of understanding could work it’s way to the surface.

My internal conversation started something like this,

God, whoever you are, and maybe you are just my wiser-self, it doesn’t matter. In fact, I don’t need the confusion of wondering. I just know you sometimes come through for me, and I want to let you know that I’ve had enough sadness in my life. 

Don’t sigh and roll your eyes at me! I know we don’t get a pass on sorrow for the rest of our lives just because we’ve reached a certain level, like we all only have to suffer a specific number of days and once those are reached, Wa La! We’re done! Let the party begin!

But let me suggest that would be a good rule for you to put into place. I have given you a whole lot of entertainment in the past 60 years, and you know that entertainers are paid and treated very well in this country. 

But I’m a realistic woman. I know you’re going to make me work this out for myself. You expect me to look at my life differently. Take different actions. Let go of what happened and move on from today. 

Don’t you see that’s what I’m trying to do? And it’s not working! It works for awhile — until it doesn’t. Until something, I don’t know what, triggers sadness and that dark place all over again. 

My biggest question is how, when I am so completely depleted, do I find some hidden reserve to pull myself back out? Could you send me a little ray of energy? Something to lift me up? Maybe the sight and the sound of a hawk flying overhead. Heck, I’d settle for a crow. 

Could you help me know what to do next? 

I walked on with the dogs. There weren’t any hawks. Not even a crow. No birds at all. No voice in my head telling me my purpose, like some people talk about.

It’s not that I expected anything. But I hoped to feel something. To get an idea that felt like an answer.

Java, Latte and I rounded a corner onto the part of the path that is right next to the Mississippi River, and I saw a can stuck on a tree root, close to the shore. I picked up a stick to push the can closer until I could reach it. We headed towards the waste containers, and on the way, I also picked up a wrapper and a piece of notebook paper. I threw away the can and wrapper, but before tossing the notepaper, I unfolded it and read,

“Life is beautiful. Spread the word. You are amazing.”

I laughed, “Seriously God, you sent me a note?”

More likely, it was written by one of the Jehovah Witnesses youth that appear to frequent the park. A few weeks ago, they left messages on the bridge about God’s love. Still, in a serendipity sense, I wanted to see it as the message from God I had hoped for.

Now, I could go a couple directions with this train of thought and I have. I could write a pithy, inspirational message about how I suddenly sprang up energized, saying to everyone I met, “Life is beautiful! You are amazing!” Or write about how I started writing up my own messages and leaving them around for people, but then, that goes against my desire to clean up litter.

Being the questioning sort, my mind went to, “What do you mean ‘life is beautiful’? I’ve just been picking up trash. When I try to fathom what kind of creatures would throw trash in the river or on the ground, a green fanged monster with slime dripping from its orifices springs to mind. Littering to me is a vile disregard for the planet that sustains us. And that to me must mean some people don’t care whether life, beautiful or not, continues. In fact, if we blow off all the information that has been brought forth about our contributions to climate change and the resulting species die off, then we don’t care about our own life or anyone else. Not everyone cares about birds and bees and animals and organisms and soil health, but everyone cares about eating and breathing and having water to drink, right?

Anyway, that is truly where my heart went. Definitely did not lift any sadness. But maybe, the message is that life is amazing and precious and beautiful, but it is fragile. So spread the word!

Beauty is not a given. It doesn’t just happen. Beauty requires effort. At a minimum, it has to be noticed, which is easy at the Grand Canyon but not so easy while watching the news.

I believe life COULD be beautiful. If we used our lives to leave this world a better place than the way we found it. We can’t just give up. Even if we are old and tired and feel powerless. We can’t allow greedy people to call the shots. To manipulate us into buying more than we should. I know ecological choices can be more expensive and some people truly can’t afford to be the ones buying organic and being picky about packaging. But many of us can. And those that can’t, that’s an issue of food justice that I won’t get into right now.

As long as we are breathing, we can do something. We can make better choices. But remember that it’s a process. You don’t have to change everything at once or make yourself crazy by worrying yourself to death. But be aware. Notice and do what you can to love that beauty out there.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Pick up a wrapper on the sidewalk and throw it away. (It helps to always carry a bag for this collection purpose.)
  • Use reusable bags when shopping. Use mesh bags for produce. Don’t grab those plastic bags on the roll! It takes some research to find bags that are reusable, recyclable, affordable and safe for your food, but it can be done. Find something washable as it’s important to keep the bags clean for your food.
  • Consider packaging when shopping. Corporations have made this a bigger challenge than it needs to be. If we stop buying things that are overpackaged or packaged in plastic, companies will have to change their practices. The Canadian video below provides over-packaging examples. Government intervention is suggested. I’d like to see consumers use their buying power first.
  • Please share your own ideas and recommendations in the comments.

I realize this probably wasn’t where you expected this Letter from God to go. I didn’t either. And yet this topic of plastic and waste, and so many other environmental issues, has been heavy on my mind. I haven’t wanted to be preachy. I haven’t wanted to offend people. Maybe I say something incorrectly. Make a mistake. Maybe I am offensive. I guess I’ll take that risk.

Young people are working so hard to get governments, organizations, and human populations everywhere to listen to them. They want action. They want bigger, faster changes that match the urgency of the situation. They want a chance for a beautiful life. So let’s do what we can to give that to them.

Spread the word…

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2 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more with all your words and specifically about what every single one of us can do to help protect our planet. Like you…on my morning walks…I take a bag and collect people’s shit they toss out their car or who knows how it gets there. The good news is that people are seeing me and I’ve noticed two more people doing it. Many have slowed down to say “thank you!” for picking up trash. Our “main” road into our community looks better than it ever has. So imagine what could be done if everyone pitched in! I’m thinking this IS your letter “from God!” Keep preaching it sister!

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