Replenish (1,115)

April 13th, 2011

Margaret had sinus problems. Well, at least Margaret claimed she did. And not just claimed. She insisted, led with and practically introduced herself with that particular piece of information. She was a nice enough lady but every time you’d meet her and ask her how she was, she would begin to relate to you the intricate and often unseemly symptoms of her running condition. It was so predictable—and unpleasant, may I add—that I stopped greeting her with the normal, “how are you?” and instead inserted a “good to see you, Margaret” as my verbal offering.

One day she went to the doctor and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, dying six months later. As I stood at her gravesite, I thought to myself, “I wonder if it was caused by the sinuses.” Wouldn’t it be funny if all the years she was complaining about sinus pain, it was just a forewarning of a growing abscess in her head? And when I say “funny,” of course you know I mean unusual or strange.

I feel the same thing when I hear people debate over-population, the rain forest and global warming. While some people want scientific proof that the earth is changing and other people seem to be a walking encyclopedia of abstract facts about such evidence, my philosophy is: “What harm is there in being intelligent fellows and just treating the earth with the respect it deserves anyway?”

It didn’t really bother me that much to listen to Margaret talk about her sinuses—and if I had taken a little more interest, she might have gone to the doctor sooner and maybe ended up tumor-less instead of brainless.

I do not understand why respecting Mother Earth has become a political issue, dividing conservatives and liberals. Let’s go back to that initial conversation God had with his human hatchlings. After He told them to “be fruitful and multiply,” He requested that they replenish the earth.

Replenish—if you took one, put one back.

Disrespect for earth is truly ignoring the existence of God. Limiting this planet’s importance is denying that it is the Lord’s in all of its fullness. I am a thief. I rob goodness from the world around me—and unless I sneak back in and plant something to grow for the next generation, I become nothing but a terrorist to this human passage.

And we rob in many ways.

· We take the smile off the face of another human being by deciding to be grouchy in his presence—causing him to give up hope on the idea of civility.

· We throw a piece of trash into a trash can and it bounces out and we briefly gaze at it before we walk away, assuming that a half-hearted effort was sufficient.

· We leave the lights on when we could turn them off to fulfill our own convenience instead of tipping our hats to conservation.

· We frown when we could laugh.

· We criticize when we have no particular expertise in the matter.

· We enter a church building to pass through a ritual instead of changing our surroundings and letting God know that we really get what spirituality is all about.

· We listen to music and if it’s not to our particular liking, we either deem it devilish or too loud.

We fail to replenish.

We frequently unearth or cut down things we find cumbersome—never coming along to replant seedlings—even of our own choice. We scorch the earth around us with our tempers and whisper quick apologies as we head out the door. We spend our time convincing ourselves that we’re doing no harm, even as nature itself groans its discontentment.

We fail to replenish.

I want to know what harm there is in being tender to the earth and accepting that whether we have the evidence or not to believe in global warming, we are still going to do the handful of activities that would establish our sensitivity to the issue? For it is fascinating to me that the same people who object to global warming can be frightened to death by the coming apocalypse and the end of the world. And the people who tout global warming just as frequently fail to produce any hope because they do not contain a canister of faith in the grace of God.

Sorry, Charlie. I’m going both ways. I believe that global warming is worthy of doing a few simple things—so I joyfully turn off the lights, change my thermostat and try to address my carbon footprint (whatever in the hell that means).

I am not a great advocate on the end of the world but I live each day as if Armageddon might arrive at sunset.

I do not join those who express dire concerns or propagate hopelessness because my relationship with God is not so much Biblical as it is personal. He likes me. And I rather enjoy His company. So I think as a good friend, if anything of consequence is going to happen, He will afford me a heads-up.

Call it optimistic. Call it foolish. I call it replenishing.

I have no intentions of taking anything away from any situation without planting something better in its place. I offer no criticism until I have a worthy idea for insertion. I don’t make fun of new music or new practices until I have taken a good taste off the plate of possibility. I do not arrive to share my thoughts in a church with anticipation of being served, but rather, with the profile of one who gets his jollies by serving.

God would love to have even a few folks who enter every situation in life with a determination to replenish that which they inevitably soak up. It is a kindness, a courtliness and a courtesy that has been lost in the grab-bag philosophy of self esteem. Actually, my self-esteem is better established when I haven’t robbed you of yours in order to increase mine.

Replenish the earth.

I wish Margaret were here today so I could hear all about her sinuses. Maybe—just maybe—a little more concern in the moment could have avoided a disaster later.

Published in: on April 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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