Trash to Treasure

Image

Trash to Treasure

   I spent my childhood years making family trips to the ocean. We spent hours being chased by the crashing waves and warming our wet toes in the heated sand. Those were days that I looked forward to and they have left imprinted memories in my heart. Since then, I’ve married another beach lover and we have had our own family tradition of making summer treks to the oceanside. I’ve watched my own delighted children as they’ve danced in the ocean waves and let the cold sea foam roll over their toes.

One beach that we frequented over the years had an unusual characteristic. Decades before our arrival, the seaside town residents had dumped it’s trash over the cliff’s above this small beach. This was long before the birth of ecology awareness, at least for the general public. Amongst the garbage was tons of discarded glassware and pottery, along with appliances and old cars. Eventually, the dumping was forbidden and a long term cleanup of the beach was done. In the meanwhile, over decades, a wonderful thing happened to the broken glass that had been thrown away.  As the pounding waves cleansed the beach, they also transformed the broken pieces of glass, smoothing, and polishing them into thousands of jewels that washed up onto the shoreline. It became a treasure hunt for our family to find the perfect pieces to bring home with us.

Our children are now grown and several years have passed since we’ve walked along the pebbled glass shore together. A few pieces of those memories sit on my office desk for me to enjoy. When I look at the unique shapes and colors of glass, I wonder if they could speak, what would they tell me about their journey? I think about how these simple pieces of glass had become someone’s garbage that they threw out, they were considered as trash. Yet, here they are on my desk, and they have become my treasure.

I have made a small candle holder that is lined with some of my jewels and on dark days, I’ll light the candle and the colorful glass pieces come to life. Today is one of those gloomy days, and the rain is beating against my office window. I’ve lit the small candle in the holder and as I enjoy watching it’s light dance through the unique glass jewels, the thought occurs to me that there is a resemblance to humankind in this artwork. Each person has their own story of what has brought them to this place in time. Some have had a long and meaningful journey, others have hit rough waters. Then there are some who, as the glass on the beach, have been discarded as trash. But as the glass has been transformed into treasure by a majestic power that cannot be bridled, I believe that  we too, can be transformed. I believe that the One who moves the mighty ocean holds us as treasure in the palm of his hand, and says, “Look! Aren’t they beautiful?”

Advertisements

Bacteriology 101

“Don’t touch your face!” I constantly warned my children during cold and flu season. Children’s fingers tend to gravitate toward the nearest nostrils.  “Bad germs that can make you sick like to live in your nose,” I would instruct, “and sometimes in your eyes.” Then I would direct them, “Scrub your hands and don’t stop until you’ve sung the entire ABC song!” But somehow those little buggers made it to the gateway needed to set up camp in a nostril, or two, and then wreak havoc in our household. Out came the thermometer, Tylenol, cough syrup and case of Kleenex, along with a new set of rules. “Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough!”

Today I sit with a box of Kleenex at my side, blowing and sniffling, while sucking on a Zicam tablet. While I don’t allow any of my fingers to nostril hang, apparently, at some point I broke my own proverbial rule and “touched my face,” or I was privy to someone’s uncovered cough, or sneeze. I’d like to believe that it was the latter of the two. Either way, an undetected viral organism made it’s stealth transfer into my body and has made itself at home.

When I was in college, one of my required science classes was Bacteriology. I learned more about bacteria than I ever wanted to know. The more I viewed the squirmy, crawly organisms under the microscope, the more I was aware of their encroachment of my surrounding environment. They became my invisible enemy. I envisioned them on my countertops, doorknobs and sink faucets. When I got into my car, they were on the door handles, steering wheel and stick-shift. I battled against them as I scrubbed and disinfected all surfaces of possible contamination. But when my husband took me out to dinner, they were at the restaurant too. I grabbed my little cleaning cloth from my purse and wiped down my fork, knife and spoon prior to use. The first time I did this, my husband took a quick glance around the room, then leaned toward me and whispered, “What are you doing?” I blinked. Didn’t he know the dangers that may lay on the surface of the utensils that he was about to put into his mouth? It was apparent by the look on his face that he did not, so I informed him. “You have no idea who has touched those, and whether or not they washed their hands first – they could be infected with E.Coli for all you know!” He rolled his eyes and retorted, “You are beginning to sound paranoid!” To which I replied, “I’d rather be paranoid than dead!” I’m afraid that it didn’t end there.

One day while working on my home decontamination plan, my husband said, “You know, you can’t avoid germs, they are in the air you breathe.” I promptly went to the closet and grabbed the Lysol spray and fumigated every room in the house with it. When I realized we were beginning to run out of oxygen, I relented to opening up all the windows.

I’m not sure when my germ paranoia began to fade. Perhaps it was my mother reminding me that I had made it through the first two decades of my life in good health. She informed me that in my first few years of toddling around on this planet, that I had eaten with dirty hands on more than one occasion and once had bitten a live snail in half. That totally grossed me out and I told her that she could have kept that information to herself. Perhaps it was reading health related articles about the overuse of antibacterials, that we were killing the good bacteria that protects us while trying to kill the bad stuff. Or coming to realization that mom was right (as well as my all-natural friend who refuses to use hand sanitizers), that we are made with an immune system that works, short of a serious condition, and some exposure to germs may actually be good for us. Eventually, my germ phobia dissolved. But I do have to admit that I still occasionally wipe down my steering wheel and stick shift in my car with an antibacterial wipe.

Yesterday my husband came home and promptly placed his work bag on top of the freshly cleaned kitchen counter. I asked him if he would put it on the floor instead since it wasn’t clean enough to be on the countertop. He said that it wasn’t dirty, that it had only been on his truck floor – and that was clean. I wanted to give him the entire run down on how bacteria is invisible to the naked eye, and how life threatening bacteria can be transferred to kitchen countertops and into the food we eat. But instead I replied, “Would you lick your truck floor?” Point made.

Old habits die hard.

Tamara’s Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: