Garbage and Gratitude

Last Tuesday night my wife asked me to take out the recyclables. This was actually quite gracious because taking out the recyclables already is my job. She could have just reminded me to do it instead of asking me to do it.
The thing is, taking out the recyclables is one of my least favorite jobs. The reason? They stink. Though we rinse things before they get put in the bin, we are not of the type to run the recyclables through the dishwasher before we put them out to be melted down or whatever they do to them. So it is an unpleasant job.
Why am I writing about an unpleasant job, you ask. Because I found joy in it, and I thought that was worth sharing. My sense of gratitude grew as I took out the recyclables, and gratitude is good for all of us.
In order to take the recyclables out, I had to take them out of somewhere. In my case, I have a house that is quite comfortable, reasonably furnished, has heating and air conditioning, includes the fabulous luxury of indoor plumbing, and more. So though I don’t enjoy taking the recyclables out, I am mighty glad to have some place to take them out from.
Much of what smells disgusting after sitting in the recyclables bin for several days smelled and tasted delicious a few days ago. In taking out the used food containers, I was reminded that I have consumed the food that came in the containers. I have food, which is a wonderful blessing. Some of the things that stank, did so because we don’t refrigerate our recyclables. The perishable stuff spoils — which reminded me of how wonderful it is to have a refrigerator to keep fresh food fresh longer. What a blessing!
Then I thought of my family, which had consumed the food that came in the now-stinking recyclable containers. I have a wife and children that also have food — food that we share as we sit around the table and generally quite enjoy each other.
As I reached the curb, I also thought about the luxury of having someone else drive by in a truck to pick up my garbage. How wonderful is that?
I probably won’t ever really look forward to taking out the recyclables, but I have found that thinking about what brought that stinking bin full of used containers into existence has given me a great opportunity to let gratitude overtake me in the middle of an unpleasant task. Thankfulness feels good.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m also thankful that I have to take out the recyclables only once per week.