Nancy and I have spent the past two evenings cleaning up a big mess . . . one we didn't create. We have a house in Luther, Oklahoma that we rent out. Our most recent tenant left on July 24, cutting his lease short by 21 months . . . and leaving the house, to put it mildly, trashed out. Every room was literally covered in old clothing, broken toys, busted furniture, wadded up paper, empty (and not so empty) food cartons and containers, dishes, clothes hangers . . . and a few (actually, several) dirty diapers. I won't even begin to describe what we found piled in the storm cellar.
Have you ever cleaned up a mess left by others? If you have lived any length of time, at all, I imagine you have. It is not pleasant, is it? And a bit (or a lot) irritating! And, hopefully, it should cause us to stop and think.
Stop and think, that is, about our own actions and the affect they have on other people. Because, it seems likely (and, sadly, I am speaking to myself as much as anybody else) that at times we have left messes for others to clean up. And, I'm not just speaking literally, but figuratively, as well. Perhaps it was some instance of irresponsibility on our part, when other people suffered because of work we left undone, or underdone. Or perhaps it was when we weren't thinking, when we were distracted, when we were thinking way too much about ourselves than about anybody else. Maybe it was deliberate--we knew what we were doing, and we knew that our actions would adversely affect others, and . . . we just didn't care!
We do not live life in a vacuum. What we do affects other people. Maybe only slightly. Sometimes, and even often times, significantly! Hopefully not to the level of a house filled with stinking garbage, but certainly to the point where we should stop and think about how what we are doing will affect those around us.
Let us all live our lives with the desire to give and not take, to serve and not be served . . . to love and not disregard!
It is so nice to report that our house is now clean and, as of next Monday, newly occupied!