Earth Day is a big movement, and there are lots of shouts about what we can do in honor of our home planet. Like kids, we tend to reject what is shouted at us. We defy based on an inner urge to thumb our noses at authority. What if, instead, you did the least you could do? What if today, we all did the least we could do?
We all have our routes, our daily trails on to work, our errands, our fill-ups at the gas station. What if today you used your two hands to pick up litter there? It’s not mandated. This is your idea, so naturally it feels better. It’s not self-righteous. It’s the very least you could do. More might mean multiple trips to the garbage can. No. No. That’s more than the least you could do. Ambition doesn’t feel as good.
Ambition will only make you like my friend Susan who walks around local schools, neighborhoods, and strip malls once a week to pick up litter. She dresses in a reflective vest, so she won’t be killed by a car. She pulls her hair up and wears gloves.
She picks up the trash that people drop to the ground without a thought. The trash men know her and often let her put her garbage bag in their truck. The least that Susan can do is more than the least that I can do. It’s more than a lot of us can do, but it’s a good idea to be yourself. Don’t be Susan. Be yourself, and that is worth something. In this case, it’s worth two handfuls of plastic cups, food containers, wrappers, and Styrofoam.
Your hands aren’t worth a whole lot today. Maybe that’s what you are thinking, but think about how other people feel about them. Someone that loves you dearly remembers holding your hand. Remember that jar you opened, and the caress on the cheek? Your hands have done a lot. There was that time you steadied a child learning to ride without training wheels, and the dog you held back from the speeding car. Oh, and, gosh, who can forget the tissues you’ve handed out over and over again? Your hands aren’t as impressive to you, because you take them for granted. A shark didn’t bite one off and further your determination to be a champion surfer. You didn’t have one blown off while running a marathon or have a an unfortunate run-in with a flesh-eating bacteria. Trust me, though. Your hands are wicked-awesome.