Pick it up, you’re falling behind…

Quick story. I walked several blocks today to lunch and on my way back, I was walking down a sidewalk and there were newspaper sheets lying all over the sidewalk. The perplexing thing was there was a garbage can right next to them.Image

As I walked toward them, I saw it was 2-3 newspapers worth of pages flying about so I started to pick them up. You see, it was in front of a high rise building that’s been vacant since 2 banks merged in my city 5 years ago, so there wasn’t much foot traffic.

Sure, the city has a Public Works department that cleans the streets. If I pick it up, I’m taking away from their job, right? Heck, a homeless guy might have come by and needed that paper for…Anyway, I picked it up.

One-by-one, I chased the papers blowing in the wind down the sidewalk like a nut job until I got every last one. All the while, I was wondering if someone was going to see me doing it and think I was crazy…

That’s my point.  When did we go from picking up trashbeing normal, to it being someone else’s job and I’m crazy if someone sees me doing it?

When’s the last time you picked up the trash, rather than stepping over it?

Do you step over the bug in the carpet by your elevator?  Do you walk past the scraps of paper towel that have fallen from the receptacle at church? Do you throw that left over napkin away with your stuff at MacDonald’s or just leave it there for someone of lesser status to get them?

Even the Bible tells us to live “in honor, preferring one another.”  Turns out, that preferring one another part means to live life knowing there is someone else behind you.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about “preferring”:

    • grab a cart from the lot, that’s one less for the poor grocery guy to bring in
    • if you have a kid in a restaurant, pick up after them (or at least triple the tip)
    • return the item you don’t need back to it’s home, rather than on the shelf in the checkout line

When you read these, if you thought “that’s not my job,” you failed.  I’m guessing you’re an absolute joy to be around and WOW would I like to work for you…(note: SARCASM)

If you thought “man, that’s what I do,” you are awesome!!!

If you thought “man, hadn’t thought of that,” Congrats!  You are in my boat. Bad news is that we both have some rowing to do.

Got anymore for my list?  I’d love to hear them!!!


2 thoughts on “Pick it up, you’re falling behind…

  1. Hi! Considering your twitter avatar is Albert Einstein I am going to call you Albert instead of Stephen.

    Albert, I have a similar story.

    I live in the core of Toronto, Canada and we have a small parkette at the bottom of our street in a inner-city residential neighbourhood. Quite nice but our street connects access to two major east-west arteries one that has a series of condos to the south and one that is an arts and entertainment corridor to the north. On Sunday mornings our street and the parkette are littered with garbage from the partiers heading home – every weekend. Every Sunday morning when I walk the dog I take a garbage bag with me and clean up our part of the street – some weeks it’s bad, some not so bad. One morning someone asked me why I was doing what I am doing. I simply said “I love my neighbourhood.”

    Does that count?

  2. Absolutely Ralph! The idea that it’s not our responsibility just b/c it’s not our job is one we have to watch. I try to always realize that there is someone coming along behind me and what I do might make their life a little better…even picking up the trash so they don’t have to…

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