The Parable of the Pile of Garbage

 

I am retiring some of my old Facebook notes here, this is one of my favorites, dealing with one of the dearest topics to my heart — the emotional healing of the body.  This was originally written in May of 2014.

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I want to thank our Heavenly Father for showing me this as I  lay in bed this morning.

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There once lived a man who had a huge pile of garbage.  Most of it he had inherited, but he had also added to it as he grew older, having decided from his early adulthood to dwell on it.  Dwelling on the garbage set him above his peers and he could see everything around him, from the perspective of his garbage pile.  He became, in his own mind, quite the scholar as his vantage from above allowed him to see everyone else’s garbage clearly.

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People resented the rather distasteful perspective that his garbage afforded him, and after a while, the stench of it became even too much for him, and he fell.  Now finally at the bottom, he started seeing the garbage for what it was, and he was very ashamed of it, embarrassed that he had dwelt on his garbage for so long.

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He now looked around and saw a great many people on their own piles of garbage, but not everyone was dwelling on it — some had erected boards on top of it so that they could get over their garbage.  Some had created very nice looking stairs, but others had just quickly slapped together old 2×4’s and nails that allowed them to get over their pile of garbage with varying degrees of success — but the stench was still there, even if they had gotten so used to it that they no longer noticed.  And they still had to struggle over it each day, their path still obstructed.

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The man looked at his pile of garbage and lamented, it was too big to simply get over, but that didn’t stop people from telling him to do it.  After careful consideration, the man grabbed a shovel and approached the pile.

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The people who had built overpasses yelled to him, “What are you doing?  Just get over it!”

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“No,” he replied, “It’s too much, and it stinks of decay and death, I am going to have to deal with this.  It wasn’t enough to stop dwelling on it, and it isn’t enough to just get over it, the garbage has to get dealt with or it will always be here.”

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Garbage

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He took his shovel and started digging into the pile. The first few shovels full were only good for the fire pit he had erected, but as the process went on, sometimes he would see, in the debris, precious things, and in the ashes, glimmers of things that survived the fire.  Here was the gold watch the kind woman down the street had given him before she died, but he had forgotten her kindness in the midst of the garbage.  He slipped it into his pocket, feeling lighter as the memories of her life infused him with the sort of feelings he had forgotten existed.

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Sometimes his shovel would bring down an avalanche that would threaten to consume him, sometimes he could barely get his shovel into the pile, sometimes he rested from his labors, sometimes he walked away for a season.  But day by day, year after year, the garbage pile got smaller.

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The people who were still dwelling on their piles and still getting over theirs, would call out to him every once in a while, appalled by the dirty work he was undertaking, but even they could see that his garbage was getting dealt with, especially as his pile started to grow smaller than theirs.

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In the end, the man was left with a pile of ashes, a pocket full of treasures, no garbage, and a shovel he could now expertly use to help the people around him who were tired of “dwelling on it,” weary of settling for “getting over it” and who realized that “letting it go” just left a pile of garbage ignored, for other people to deal with.

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And so he washed his hands and shouted, “Who wants to get rid of their garbage?”

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This, beloveds, is the difference between drowning, surviving, and thriving.  This is about being an overcomer.

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