The Trash Collector

August 21st, 2019 by Joan Maiden

The house had a beautiful facade—what the Realtors like to call “street presence”. The landscaping was immaculate and the flowers were in bloom.
Walking through the front door, the foyer was warm and inviting. “What is that strange odor?” Proceeding farther into the house I notice many closed doors. These rooms seem to be off limits. Approaching the rear of the house, the odor becomes stronger. “What in the world could be causing such a stink in a beautiful home?”
Reaching the back door expecting to see a continuation of the lovely landscaping in the front, instead I find the lawn strewn with garbage. Piles and piles of garbage. “Why in the world would anyone pile up their garbage in the backyard instead of carrying it to the curb so the garbage man can haul it away?” I find the homeowner rummaging through the piles of garbage.
“Poor me,” she replies. “I have so much garbage that I just don’t know what to do with it.”
“But why are you going through it? Why not haul it to the curb so it can be hauled away?”
“That seems like an awful lot of work. Besides, I might need my garbage. Other people give me their garbage as well.”
“What are those rooms closed off in your house?”
“Those are full of the garbage I haven’t had time to deal with yet. I’ll get to it one of these days. In the meantime, I’ll just pretend it isn’t there. The garbage piled in the backyard is the garbage other people have dumped on me.
“Why have I allowed them to dump it on you?”
“It’s really not my fault. I’m the victim here. You should feel sorry for me. None of it is my responsibility.”
How ridiculous! Then I take a closer look at the homeowner and realized that she is me. I have a nice facade I show the world. I present the image of being happy and successful. I may invite you into certain rooms that feel warm and inviting but if you look beyond those, you will see the closed doors—the areas of my life I’m ashamed of, afraid to expose for fear you will judge me. Some are just too painful to look at.
There are the trash bags of the hurtful words, old resentments, guilt and fear. If I go back and open those bags once in awhile, I can justify feeling angry, hurt and resentful. I’m not responsible. It’s the fault of the garbage, what other people have dumped on me, expecting me to take on and fix for them.
The garbage weighs me down. It’s time to let it go, haul it to the curb and let the garbage truck haul it away. I don’t need it any longer.


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