I tighten my bootlaces. One more glance out the window at the frosty morning makes me snug up the headband around my ears.
Snagging two plastic grocery bags, I head out on my mission.
The morning rush to school and work is over. A gleam of reflected light catches my eye. Ah-ha! I nearly pounce on a shiny aluminum can and slip my first recycle prize into a bag with a sense of satisfaction.
Approaching Barbara and Mark’s place, their black Lab comes roaring around the corner and up to the chain-link fence, all bark.
“Kimber, how are you this morning?” I coo at her. She looks back to see if her master is watching. “What are you doing today?” I persist in keeping up my pace. As always, my chatter sabotages her purpose of running off an intruder. She ignores me.
It is my friend Linda who first inspired me to accept this mission. We met occasionally on the road as she stabbed the offending trash with her pole. She faithfully fulfilled her personal commitment—until her condition of imbalance worsened. After a few falls, she had to quit.
“Now you’ll have to keep the road clean,” she teased, passing the de-littering torch on to me.
As I pass their home, I wave to Wally, who is headed out to his shop. “How’s Mary?” I call from across the street. I pause as he pauses.
“She is down with her fibromyalgia today,” he says.
I walk across the street, and we chat.
“Hey,” I say as I prepare to go, “let me know if I can do anything. Dishes? Cleaning?”
He hesitates. “Can you wait just a minute? I’ll go get a notepad to get your number.” Wally hurries into the house and comes out with a notepad and pencil. I jot down my phone number. Hope it turns into a phone call, I think to myself.
The trash bag is bulging now—scrunched-up cardboard pizza box, candy wrappers, a paper cup, another plastic bag. The recycle bag is heavier—soda and beer cans.
Hearing an engine slowing behind me, I step further to the side, wondering if I am in the way.A white truck rolls up beside me.
Before I can apologize, the driver says, “Thank you—for doing this.”
“Oh, uh, you’re welcome,” I stammer as his window rolls up and he drives on.
Suddenly I rouse with delayed reaction to his words of appreciation. Waving after the truck, I call out, “Thank you! And have a nice day!”
Day by day cars and trucks have passed me. I usually feel invisible. But not today. Picking up litter is not important, but today I have evidence that the roadside is cleaner because I walked here. That man is glad I’m pursuing my mission. In spite of herself, Kimber looks forward to barking at me. Feeling the weight of my bags, I know Linda would smile.
Passing Mary and Wally’s home on my return, I note the shades are pulled.
Dear Father in heaven, ease Mary’s pain today. Heal her if it is Your will, and may she know You as her Friend and Savior. Amen. Then an afterthought occurs: Lord, would You give me just the right idea of how to minister to her?
Banana bread and cinnamon rolls are a go-to idea when I don’t know what else to do. Maybe Mary would like zucchini muffins.
As I turn the knob of my front door, the grandness of the Great Commission echoes in my mind: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19, KJV).
My sphere may be small, but I am committed to the mission.
Cathlynn Doré Law is an author and homemaker and lives with her husband, Mark, in, Idaho.