“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it. ~ Genesis 2:15
Today, I don’t even know where to start writing. There are times when so much is happening so fast that focusing on only one is difficult. What subject do I choose? On these days, my husband, and sometimes others, might suggest that I take a break. I consider that. I consider following my original plan of not writing at all, ever. But then, that doesn’t feel right. You see, for the time being at least, writing is an assignment given to me from God, and I do know what I should write about today. I just don’t want to because it’s still about clutter. I don’t want to write about this because writing it calls me to change.
You have probably heard what Pope Francis is saying about climate change. He says that, although some of the change is due to cyclical rhythms of the planet, much more is caused by humans. Many of us believe this is true. It is one of today’s burning issues. Pope Francis calls it a moral issue, and it is also a stewardship issue. Whether we agree about the cause or not, we have still been charged with care of the earth and its resources. In the beginning, the Genesis story tells us that after God created the earth, he made humans and gave them the job of taking care of it. We only have to look around to see that we aren’t really handling that responsibility very well. Romans 8 tells us that creation waits, groans even, for God’s children to deliver it from decay, but how do we do that?
If we are not working in politics, how can we make a difference and fulfill God’s command to be stewards? Once again, not all of us are called to big things but each of us is charged with doing what we can. Many mystics and saints say that small is sufficient. We are to pray and then do what’s in front of us. What would that be? A few years ago there was a little slogan or song. Maybe you remember it – “Reduce, reuse, recycle – the three R’s that benefit the planet.” We can take this seriously. This asks us to consider how much is enough, what we throw away, how we use water, and so on. You probably have your own list.
I can take care of the little plot of ground that I think we own. I don’t do a very good job of it at times. I have a bad habit of letting the water run down the drain when I brush my teeth and wash my face. I’m trying to break that habit, and that requires awareness. I can wait until the dishwasher or washing machine actually has a full load before I run them. We recycle and donate many things, but I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with more. We can bundle our errands. Most of these are little sacrifices. We can “Give as we receive.” Can we even begin to give back what we have been given? It will take all of us. We pray, “Lord, what will you have me do?”
“Lord above, how often do I distort your creation to my ends then feel sorrow when all I see is desert? How often do I treat your creation without love, then despair that love is absent? May I instead try not to despair, but to love: not to bend the world to my will, but pray that I might be a servant to yours. May I love your creation, as I am loved as your creation, as Christ died for love of me.”—St. Thomas Aquinas