Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Even the Birds Shun Garnish

Even birds shun decorative garnish. This is a fact I can verify. After spending last Sunday morning with a few hardy souls from my sons Boy Scout Troop picking up trash in a parking lot after the Great American Barbeque, I have first-hand evidence. Not even a crow would touch those soggy stems of parsley sprinkled liberally around the lot. Only outnumbered by cigarete butts and beer bottle lids, garnish was discarded by man and beast alike. Personally, I don’t think that lonely sprig looks that good on the plate -- cilantro would be much more attractive.

Why would I volunteer to pick up trash on an extremely humid Sunday morning?? Money of course. It was a fundraiser for the troop, and I might add the organization that is responsible for these events made a great choice, $500.00 well spent. I was also exercising my parental duty to model community service for my teenage sons, who were somewhat less than enthusiastic about the activity. Their Sunday mornings are reserved for sleep, followed by exercise: aka Xbox Live. Fortunately Youth Mass doesn’t begin until 5:00 p.m..

In a week or so my son will participating in a local Relay for Life, to benefit cancer research. As I slogged through the parking lot covered in wet cigarette butts and half eaten barbeque remnants, I had an epiphany: Next year the Relay for Life could set up AROUND the Great American Barbeque and their slogan could be “This Lap is for You!” Uncharacteristically, no biblical metaphor rose to meet me from the dumpster. However, this one should have,

Matthew 7- Judging Other ADo not judge so that you will not be judged.  2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and (B)by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  3"Why do you (C)look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  4"(D)Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?  5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”


Recently I have been giving a good portion of my personal prayer time to the concept of change. Mid-life brings me face to face with its effects, whether I want to deal with them or not. Judging others harshly, not attempting to see them with the eyes of Christ, is one of the ways to stave off the reality that change is all around me. Maybe that is why we keep putting parsley springs on our plates when no one will eat them.  If we quit, would anyone notice?

I did walk away with something more than the obvious to ponder though, which is trying to identify my own self- inflicted garnish. The things I cling to because I believe, at least from a distance, create the illusion of a better life. What do others really think of my garnish? And what would they think if I just quit using it? Who is it that treads behind me, left with the burden of discarding the debris?