Apparently I hate taking care of the world.
Hyderabad (probably most places in Pakistan for that matter) doesn’t have a proper trash disposal system. You put your trash bin outside your house, someone puts it in a wheel barrel, piles it on the street with everyone else’s, and then someone randomly lights the trash on fire. As you might then assume, Hyderabad also doesn’t have a recycling system that anyone knows about it. So, back in October I put on my Go-Green hat and did some research on “easy solutions” for this trash issue. Though filling a dark wooden box with hundreds of worms that eat paper, banana peels, and tea bags sounds awesome- you also have to get them from Australia.
I proposed the next best solution- the office, Jane, and myself would start a composting pile. “Its easy!” said cute bunnies and woodland birds on various websites. “Turn trash into treasure!” Essentially, you save your paper, onionskins, leaves, etc, put them in a pile, keep it hot, rotate it, water it, and magically it all turns to beautiful mulch! You can then grow mango trees, sweet potatoes, cilantro, carrots, spinach, and lemon trees to your heart’s content. This is especially great since Sindh has sand to work with for gardening.
I, the natural independent go-getter, volunteered to maintain the pile. I thought, I’ve got a college degree- surely a little dirt and paper can’t be too difficult.
Apparently I was wrong.
For some reason, the task of tearing up old accounting statements, dragging dead branches through the yard, and mixing up (basically) rotten tomato peels and coffee isn’t quite as “green” as it was in my mind. (My idea was something like wearing a headband of flowers, dancing in the garden, eating organic apples, growing my hair out, singing as someone played the guitar, and tweeting about the whole thing.) Composting is not amazingly fun. I do not entirely enjoy it. Most of the time it smells and I get sweaty with pieces of things I don’t want to think about clinging to me. And when it is 120 degrees I think I will only enjoy it less.
But I have met too many people whose families have been fatally changed because of the increasingly disastrous floods in Sindh, I have seen too many National Geographic shows about polar bears and rainforests, and I have heard too many lectures and speakers on global warming to merely sit around, throw everything in the garbage, pretend others are not affected by my actions, and watch while it burns. I know too much to ignore it.
I read John 9 when Jesus spits in the ground and puts mud on a blind man’s eyes.
I think about Jesus washing feet that had walked for miles in the dust.
I remember Jesus touching the man with leprosy.
I think about a God who knelt down in the dust, breathed, and created human life.
I recall that before God walked with us- He gardened.
Our God isn’t afraid to get His hands dirty. Our God isn’t afraid to use what others might count as trash or worthless or rotten and make it in to something beautiful. Our God sees life in death, life in junk, and life in US.
We are to be the hands of this God. Which means, at least for me and at least for now, that my hands need to be mixing some egg shells and used notebook paper.
May we all learn to love the dirty and unclean; may we long for the day when everyone can wear a headband of flowers and dance in the garden.