Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I was introduced to a fairly new concept while in elementary school.

I’m pretty sure the idea of recycling had been around for a while; heck, I vaguely remember taking aluminum cans to some place and getting money for them.

I remember special school assemblies where they would teach us the value of recycling.

Recycle Rex taught us to be mindful of our resources and do our best to recycle the things we could.

At my sixth grade camp after each meal they would have all the campers and the chaperons (thanks for coming along dad) chant this simple refrain, “ZERO… Waste! ZERO Waste! ZERO Waste!”

We yelled it together while making an O above our heads then quickly putting our hands on our waist. Clever huh?

Anyway, I get it. We do our best to recycle and all that, but that’s not the point of the post.

Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle is a great thing to remember and apply, but when it comes to difficult and painful situations that every human goes through we tend to only embrace REDUCE.

Reduce pain. Avoid it. Minimize it. Skip passed it. Stuff it. Hide it. Deny it. Sweep it away.

That’s the American way.

Pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion dollar (quickly approaching trillion) a year industry.

It’s goal of course is to minimize pain.

I get it. I’m an avid user. I don’t like pain especially if there’s something I can take to stop it or at least curb it.

But when it comes to tough situations and life circumstances there’s no special exemption card available. We all deal with or will deal with tough days, bad breaks, and crappy scenarios.

The question is not how to AVOID, rather how to DEAL with those rough patches.

This clip of comic Louis CK explaining why his daughters aren’t allowed to have cell phones has always fascinated me.

Take a minute and watch it.

(Warning: Video is probably PG-13)

It’s both funny and incredibly accurate.

We spend most of our lives trying to cover up and avoid pain.

It’s okay to let the pain, sadness, anger or other unpleasant emotion come. You’ll survive it.

In fact, maybe you can even recycle it.

Someone or a group of “someones” may benefit from hearing your story.

One of the biggest lies we believe about ourselves is, “You’re the ONLY ONE who has dealt with _______.”

Not true.

God has given us the gift of one another. We can support each other. Offer advice or simply a listening ear.

Your pain, my pain, our pain is not meant to simply be avoided at any cost. Maybe it’s meant to be experienced (I say that delicately), lived through, and shared.

Someone out there needs to hear how you got through it.

That’s why I go to my recovery group each week. I need to hear from others. I need to share my story.

We need each other.

God has given us a great gift.

I don’t want to miss out.

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