Monday, March 02, 2009

Throw It Away This Instant!

Throw It Away

My brother has been brilliant since he was just a kid having lunch at Burger King.

Like any good mother who’d just treated her kids to fast food, Mom would remind me and my bro to clean up after ourselves. So, after enjoying whatever it is that we ordered (likely a Junior Whopper, and of course we “liked fries with that”), we’d crumple our napkins, pick up our countless squeezed-to-death ketchup packets, slurp down the last droplets of pop (we’re from Oregon; it’s “pop” here), run our straws up and down through the lid for an extra measure of squeaky satisfaction, and head for the door.

There in front of us, on our way out, would loom the receptacle for all our trash. And standing there before it, my brother would issue the most profound of statements:

“Pee-yooo-esss-aych … THROW IT AWAY!”

The swinging door that hangs over the garbage can in Burger King never said “Trash.” Nor “Garbage.” Just “P U S H.” (In case someone would attempt to PULL open a door that has no knob on it.)

Yes – to my brother, and Burger King fans across the land, “P U S H” was a simple command: “throw it away.”

It is there, in the lobby of America’s fast food favorite, that I learned how to handle those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days* that I seem to attract on a semi-regular basis. One thing may go wrong, or everything may go wrong. Or, maybe everything’s just fine, but I just can’t shake the foul mood that came on at the same time as my morning alarm. THOSE days. Those are my “pee-yooo-esss-aych” days.

Do you ever just want to crawl into bed, throw the day away, and forget it ever happened … but it’s not even noon yet? Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the stench of your own bad attitude, you seem to be suffocating in it? On those days, do you wonder how you could possibly be of any good to anyone?

You may “pee-yooo-esss-aych” those days away, but don’t be fooled. There is no garbage can big enough for our ugliness. Only a cross. And it is more than enough.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

“Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

* Special thanks to Shel Silverstein for his poem in Where the Sidewalk Ends.