Our house was sparkling clean this morning. Between our preparations for Gabriel's first birthday party and an appraiser coming to our house, there was a flurry of organizing and cleaning up this weekend.
At one point in time in the midst of all of this, my husband said, "Look at how dirty these windows and windowsills are. When's the last time we cleaned them? We've really been lazy." The prideful woman I am, I took this as a personal attack and jumped on the defensive, "What do you mean we? I'm not lazy. I'm always busy doing all kinds of things around the house." Yet, a few minutes later, I glanced at our compost container on the kitchen counter, and the reality of my own laziness was clearer than the dirt on our windows.
I am not a "winter person" by any stretch of the imagination. Every winter I imagine what it would be like to live in a more temperate climate. Every winter I long for my vegetable garden, to walk barefoot in the grass, to feel the warm summer rains, to touch and smell the sweetness of the earth, to be able to get up and go without taking a half hour to dress everyone.
This winter is no different. Recently I have been dreading the cold, gusty winds so much that I've been putting off taking our compost outside to the compost bin. I've allowed the compost container inside to get to the point where it's not only full, but it's overflowing so much that I can't even put a lid on it. There have even been a few occasions when I've just given up and put a bunch of it down the garbage disposal. Talk about laziness!
It's interesting that it took necessity to compel us to go the extra mile with our house cleaning. Yet, on a daily basis, I skip so many corners. Why is it that I often make the best choices and efforts only when it is convenient for me? It's easy to sit around and bemoan the growing environmental destruction in the world and cast the blame and judgement on others. But, in reality, the problem lies within each and every one of us.
Bishop Kallistos Ware said, “There can be no transformation of the environment without self-denial, no fundamental renewal of the cosmos without voluntary sacrifice.” If each of us are not willing to be faithful in taking small steps (no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient) in our own lives which take the environment into consideration, God's creation will suffer. In a joint message from Orthodox Primates in 1995, Orthodox Christians were called upon "...to be vigilant and to take every necessary avenue in order to save and protect God's creation." As for me, I'm going start with the compost bin, even when it's not convenient.