Coming and going are my thoughts these days as they weave their way into the recesses of my mind. As usual, in order to understand them, I write.

I’m doing pretty good, until I’m not. The thought kept spinning round as I looked around. The question someone had asked me kept ruminating within.

“Do you recycle?” The question came from a friend whom I deeply respect. In the past, I always joked about this topic as the truth was, I did not. Now, as I ponder, I begin to wonder how the consequences of my actions have impacted others round the world.

Laughing it off came more in the form of a shrug, which meant we live in the country. There is one large dumpster down the road for the neighborhood. There is no stream lined blue roll out container into which we may conveniently toss the items that are recyclable. There is no form of pick up in that regard, and it’s always been a puzzle to me as to how people do it who live in areas without this convenience.

“Do you?” I asked my friend tentatively who was also a country dweller.

“I didn’t used to until I spent some time in the city with my grandkids. The way they respected the environment convicted me. I’m surprised how little waste we actually have once I began to sort it all out.”

This is the discussion that has been simmering on the back burner so to speak, and I am convicted. Let me further explain. It’s not that there hasn’t been an awareness of the importance of this, but the inconvenience of the task seemed to overwhelm me each time I wondered about how to go about it. After all, what’s one more glass jar, one more tin can, one more plastic carton of milk in the garbage?

Certainly, what I contribute isn’t doing that much damage, and if I’m not mistaken, I thought they incinerated all of our garbage in the area where I live in order to utilize it as fuel! But the truth was I didn’t really know where it all ended up except in the dumpster.

I have been a fervent up-cycler, if you will, for many a year. We donate anything of remote value to be used somewhere in the world or by someone. It’s not as though I was totally remiss. I keep our clothing purchases to a minimum, and the food we buy isn’t exactly wasteful but rather more conservative as standards go. I could justify much of what I did, yet the prodding continued.

The plastic jugs are plentiful. Perhaps, I thought, buying my things in cartons like mom did years back might be a little more respectful of the environment. And how many bags have I purchased so I can carry my groceries out of the store instead of using plastic bags, only to forget they were there!

The truth is I am wasteful in areas where others are not. I can improve. By becoming more aware of the areas where all creation groans, I can reduce the abuse of this beautiful earth upon which we live.

How to be a better steward is worthy of thought. Living in a throw away culture is extremely convenient for me, but because I was only thinking of me, I might be the one doing damage to generations down the road so ro speak.

This side of the veil is not my home. I do not intend to permanently camp out here, yet while here, I need to care for that which has been entrusted to me.

Forgive me Lord, for my sins of omission. Make me more aware of not only the role You want me to play, but the example you want me to set as my choices impact so many more than I will ever know.

Leviticus 25:23-24 brings it home. “…For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.” Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug lives on the family homestead outside of Clearbrook with her husband Pete. She enjoys writing about family life and brings humor into the sacred moments of everyday living.

Theology in the Trenches appears in several local newspapers throughout Minnesota. Kathleen can be reached by e-mail at


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