Before the new year rolled in, I spent some time reflecting and asking God what word should guide the year before me. While I eventually settled on Holy, the runner-up – which I almost chose – was Respect.
I felt – and continue to feel – an increasing pull to honour every living soul as well as the material world in which we live. To recognize the incredible value not only of the people in my life but every speck of God’s beloved creation.
We need the material world to live, after all. God made us out of earth, and our bodies are sustained by the earth. I want to respect the home that God allowed me to share with the rest of creation.
The word “respect” comes from the Latin, meaning to look back or to look again.
In our fast-paced, throwaway culture, we have a hard time looking at things twice. We don’t have the time or the desire. Once we’ve used something, we throw it into a trash can with the intent never to see it again. We imagine it simply disappears after that. (It doesn’t, of course. It just goes somewhere else where we can’t see it — in somebody else’s back yard.)
The use of anything disposable is, to me, the height of disrespect.
I’ve felt God calling me to look at things more than once – to respect the resources he’s given me.
For that reason, I’ve been slowly working towards replacing everything disposable in my home with reusable items.
I feel like this is one of my missions for 2013.
(Please note that I don’t assume this is a reasonable mission for everyone right now. You might not be at a place in your life where this is realistic. There is no need for guilt. Maybe someday, this will be something you feel called to as well).
We’ve already switched to reusable grocery bags, napkins, and paper towels, and I’ve started with feminine hygiene. We still have a long way to go, though. We still bring way too much packaging and other stuff out to the curb for someone to take out of our sight.
I wanted to document and share our journey here. Ditching disposables in favour of reusable items isn’t particularly hard or expensive, but it does require thoughtful planning. It goes against our cultural norms. Sometimes, we just have to see someone else do it to realize that it’s even an option.
A few items on my list include toilet paper, feminine pads, and plastic wrap. Posts to follow.
Have you made any changes to a less disposable life? What have you tried? What were some of your challenges?