Look Closely

Picture courtesy of: Spotrick
Remixed with permission by me
     Yesterday was the first day of a new me. I'm not sure what prompted it...perhaps all the crying out to God to change my heart, this heart that was in a very wrong place. Perhaps it was the realization that my babies depend on me and I am their only Mommy. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I'm tired of being tired and bored. Whatever it was, something inside of me clicked, and I went for a jog. 
     It wasn't a long jog. Just around the block. And I definitely didn't jog the entire time. I came back inside wheezing and panting, lungs heavy and burning. But I smiled. The cool air hitting me in the face, the silence as my feet hit the pavement, the way it was just me out there, no babies, no housework, no obligation but to just keep going...It was divine. In a...weezing and huffing kind of way. 
     And while I was on my "divine" jog, I noticed something about my small town of Tea, SD. The streets and lawns are littered with trash. I was shocked. The houses where I was running are newer developments, with small trees that haven't had the long years head start to become much use for shade yet. New developments that are really super nice and have pretty cars sitting out front, but if you look closely, almost every single one had trash in their gutters and all over their lawns. 
     It made me think of people. So often it's all too easy to judge others by the outside. Maybe it's someone who looks rich to the eye, but is using food stamps. Maybe it's a homeless guy with really nice clothes on. Perhaps someone you see at Church, who looks like they have everything all together. And we judge, and we judge and we have no idea, no idea whatsoever what those people are truly going through. But if you look closely, you will see the telltale signs of the hardness of life making it's wear on even the seemingly "elite." 
Photo courtesy of: an untrained eye
Remixed with permission by me
     The deep lines around the eyes. The frown that looks as if it's permanently etched on their face. The smudged mascara from hours of crying. The relentless tapping of the toe from someone who deals with insurmountable amounts of stress and anxiety. People may look like they have it all together, or don't need a hug, or don't need someone to call them and be asked how they are doing...but we do not know everything about someone's circumstances. We only get to know what others want us to see. But look deeper...look closer. Maybe there is someone out there who needs you. Needs me. 
     I went back out there later that evening and picked up all that trash on people's lawns and in the gutter. It wasn't easy and it was messy, but someone has to have the courage to take on the garbage. The world looks like a much better place now that someone took the time to care. I challenge you to care. 
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:34-36 NIV


  1. I applaud you on the jog and the trash clean-up! I used to do many efforts to better the world, but when I moved to Sioux Falls especially, I stopped. I don't knwo why. I guess, in a way, the place overwhelms me.

    I need to get my butt in gear and get some exercise too. We discussed joining a gym so that someone could watch Spencer for me, because otherwise, all I can do is walk him, and sometimes attempt to walk the dog with.

  2. Thank you for you post marybeth. you have such great insite. and make people really look at themselves! we really dont know what people are going threw unless we talk to them! :) great way to help others out, there is always trash on our lawn drives me crazy!!! one day there was a used tooth brush... i'm sure some of your neighbors were greatful that someone took the time to care!


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