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By August 3, 2020April 26th, 2024One Comment

Can we ‘talk trash’ for a minute?

Years ago I lived in a community that only allowed one 33-gallon bag of garbage per week. (I had just moved from a community that allowed ten!) At the time, I had four kids at home (one in diapers), two dogs and seven overflowing trashcans in my house. All garbage had to be on the curb by 7 a.m. every Friday.

To be fair, I could set out more than one trash bag, but I had to attach a special neon orange tag to each additional bag. Cost of one special tag: $1.50. To get a special tag, I had to go to the grocery store, remember to buy a special tag, and then remember where I put the special tag. Yeah, like that was going to happen…

The kids knew they could do anything on Friday mornings—swing from the ceiling fans, snarf frosting, shave off their eyebrows—it didn’t matter. Mom was in her pajamas, sprinting through the house, hunting down garbage with no mercy. Nothing escaped her radar vision or her 33 gallon bag!

I look back and wonder why I was so obsessed with garbage. Was it really all that terrible to have a bag of rotting lettuce, smelly diapers, chicken bones, banana peels, and possible dog vomit just sitting around, smelling up the house?


Garbage bothered me then, and it bothers me now. I can’t wait to get rid of it.

One definition of garbage is offensive waste to be thrown out.

As this pandemic rages on, there seems to be no shortage of offensive waste to be thrown out. And I’m not really thinking about the stuff we put in bags. I’m thinking more about the negative thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes that we humans generate on a daily basis. I call this ‘personal garbage.’

And trust me, I’ve got PLENTY. In fact, I can hardly get out of bed each morning without starting ‘a pile.’

But is it really all that terrible to keep ‘a bag’ of evil thoughts, careless words, sordid actions and a rotten attitude just sitting around, smelling up the planet?


I would really like to blame the pandemic for all my personal garbage, but the truth is, I was real good at it before all this started. And deep down, that really bothers me. And what bothers me more is, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get rid of this garbage on my own.

Thankfully, I don’t have to and neither do you:

If we confess our sins,

He (the LORD) is faithful and just

and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9


And look where He puts our garbage:

…as far as the east is from the west,

    so far has He (the LORD) removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:12


There’s no chance you’re going to see your garbage again with this waste removal system!


Friends, we really are in this pandemic together for better or for worse. Let’s make it ‘for better.’ Let’s empty the trash.

AND to fill ‘the trash void,’ let’s do this instead:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

Until next time…






Author Joy Cleveland writes Small Town Contemporary Christian Romances that will warm your heart, feed your soul, and quite possibly tickle 'your funny bone.' A product of small town living, Joy strives to craft characters that feel like family and places that feel like home. Currently, she calls Iowa home. When she's not tapping computer keys, she's playing with grandkids, mowing grass, or chasing her dog. A lover of words, she's published short stories, plays for children, and quirky newsletters. "To Call My Own' is her first novel.

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