This isn’t a huge “pat me on the back” story, but it IS a success story.
I walk to work. No, that is not exceptional. I live two blocks from my workplace. However, it is a great two blocks because it forces me to be out in the world before I cocoon myself in my office. On most days I get to greet neighbors, see dogs, hear the kids having fun on the school yard, and overall appreciate a bit of nature.
This is my way of saying – I look at everybody’s property. Trees, flowerbeds, gardens, porches, bird feeders, bird baths. I’m taking it all in. If there’s a change, I’m noticing it. And what never escapes my notice? Litter.
I’m the person on a road trip who points out trash on the side of the road and grumbles that people should be ashamed of themselves. Well, as Pope Francis is constantly reminding us, I’m finally internalizing that words are a start, but actions are Christian. So today when I saw a chocolate wrapper on the sidewalk, I grumbled and began to walk away. But after a few steps I remembered my challenge (which I make in advance), and a little voice angrily just said “nope, LENT.” Friends, I guilted myself into doing the right thing. My BenevoLENT Challenge works. I went back for that mini wrapper.
My attitude toward material excess and throw-away culture changed when I stopped viewing threats to our common home as the consequence of someone else’s negligence.