Did you ever have one idea for a post and then have it morph midstream? This is one of those posts.

At the time I wrote about managing waste, I knew that there was another major provider in the waste handling industry in Fort Wayne. In other words, there was another tribe of garbage people. They used to be called National Serv-all, but somewhere they must have become international. Now they are just Serv-all.

I wanted to talk about an attitude toward helping which is represented by that sign. We are called to serve everyone, to not distinguish based on, well, based on anything. And I thought that it would be fun to do a post talking about that kind of attitude toward service.

As I was bouncing the ideas around, however, the idea of garbage kept coming to mind, This is the sign on a dumpster, after all, and the idea of service and garbage felt like an amusing juxtaposition. It seems like both waste management and serv-all are euphemisms for what is really happening. People throw stuff away. They fill dumpsters with stuff that stinks, that is broken, that is messy. We fill them with what we don’t want. We fill them with what we have ruined. We fill them with our mistakes, with our leftovers.

And we regard the contents of dumpsters as garbage. Think of how we think of people who go dumpster diving, particularly for food. They are unclean as well.

And yet there are people who go around and willingly accept the garbage, the refuse, the trash, the debris. We tend to not think about them much, other than complaining when they are out early in the morning making noise. Far be it from us to think about how much less the stuff might smell in the comparative cool of the morning rather than after baking in the sun for another 8 hours.

I started to think about lives, at least mine. The junk, the anger, the wrecked plans, the bad attitudes, the broken relationships. The insecurity and arrogance all scrambled together where no one can really see it. The failure that isn’t about me just being humble. The actual failure inside.

And I think about the one Person who actually is willing to take the garbage and empty the dumpster. The one Person who is willing to serv-all, without a trace of irony or euphemism. The one Person who makes house calls to take away the trash.

And I thought, that’s where service comes from, at least for me. From the trash being hauled away.

And then I thought, is that metaphor too cliche? But then I realized that I don’t know who has a bunch of broken stuff in the dumpster and who just hasn’t been willing to let someone haul it away. And maybe, just maybe, the sign of Someone willing to accept the garbage might be a hopeful sign.

And hopeful signs are the best kind.

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