As I sat in my car at Wal-mart a few weeks ago I noticed a man pouring something into his gas tank. I was checking messages on my phone when I noticed him. I don't know anything about cars, really, so seeing him pour something in his tank caught my attention.
What he did next surprised me and I have been thinking about it off and on since.
When he was finished emptying the container, he dropped it and kicked it under his car. Then, he got in his car and drove away.
It's one thing to litter. It's another thing to kick trash under your car, as if to hide it, and then drive away.
I was stunned by the hilarity of the situation. It also irritated me.
As I picked up the empty fuel booster container and took it to the trash, I found myself thinking, "Don't judge him, learn from him."
I have been considering the situation for weeks, trying to figure out the lesson for me. I have to admit I have had a terrible time evaluating myself compared the man at Wal-mart. My disdain of his actions made it hard for me to look for a parallel in my life. Did the man leave Wal-mart feeling good? Was he satisfied because he was taking care of his car? He gave no thought to his surroundings. He did not consider the absurdity of kicking his trash under his car and then driving away. He did not think about or care about who might be watching him. At some level, he was deceiving himself. He may have convinced himself that he was being responsible. He may have been so self-absorbed that he didn't think anyone was watching.
I need to be more honest with myself.
Am I so self-absorbed that I do not pay attention to the needs around me?
I often deceive myself.
I can take care of my children and fail to provide basic needs for myself like rest and proper nutrition.
I can spend ample time counting my blessings and forget to spend time thanking God.
I can convince myself that I am a caring person when I have not tended to the details of reaching out to others.
I can spend too much time feeling blessed and too little time cultivating a giving heart.
To others, my wrong-doings may seems just as obvious as the man littering.
Without question, I am an open book to God. He knows my heart better than I do.
I was focused on the ignorance I saw at Wal-mart. The treasure from that moment is realizing that I am not always honest with myself. Too often, I go through my days in a state of unrecognized complacency. The beauty in the trashed parking lot is the renewed desire for me to keep chiseling away at the selfishness of my heart.