Friday, June 27, 2008


We saw the movie Wall-e. It's about a robot named Wall-e who's left behind on a trashed earth to clean things up. He falls in love with a robot probe who has come to see if there are any signs of life on earth so that humans who've gone on perpetual space holiday while the planet is cleaned can come home.

I will review the movie (probably) on "Roger and Diane on the movies," but in the meantime, I have to say the trash-piled earth depicted in the film made me cringe as we sort through our house before we move.

We had two metal file cabinets in good condition that we a. could not sell at our yard sale, b. could not get the Salvation Army to accept as a donation (they don't take office furnishings, they told me) and c. could not get the dump to accept for their free pick-up spot. The dump told Roger the file cabinets were not worth trying to give away. So we trashed them. And I think of the great piles of garbage in Wall-e ...

Somehow, this trashing seemed wrong to me. Did we not try hard enough to find a home for two perfectly good file cabinets? Should we have asked around more? How much time can one spend trying to find a place for every object one can't use? Did we really have to fill a landfill with perfectly good things? It bugs me that somewhere out there we could have met a need with those file cabinets. Aren't we meant to be good stewards of the planet's resources?

But we have so much stuff. We simply don't have time to try to place every piece in the right hands. I'm having a new gratitude for Goodwill and other charities that will actually accept many of our goods and try to get them to people who can use them.

And I still have trouble letting go of things, like my children's toys and books, because they are connected with memories. So I am struggling with attachment. I am afraid if I give up the things that trigger the memories, I will lose the memories too. This is not an idle fancy, as sorting through things has brought back all sorts of forgotten episodes.

Haste is again the culprit in all of this. We buy too much because we don't take the time to buy only what we need and we let it accumulate because we don't take the time to give it away.

I hope we don't end up in a Wall-e world that is totally obliterated by great mounds of trash, though I fear we're headed in that direction. Roger told me today that scientists have determined that the alkaline soil on Mars would be good for growing asparagus. I hope we don't see Mars, now that we've found it has water and arable soil, as a new place to despoil.

Is this a spiritual issue? I don't think clutter (within limits) is necessarily a sign of malaise or that a spotless home is a sign of spiritual health, but I believe the unease about so many goods going to waste points to a spiritual problem in our culture

1 comment:

Regina said...

I have really been enjoying perusing through your blog! I am new to Quaker spirituality and will be attending my third Meeting tomorrow and I like how you seem to keep it all so real and relevant here. I loved the posts on JA (first read, first love- P&P) and reading about your upcoming move... I think sharing about things like this encourage all of us that are "on the move" in some way or other in our lives.
I am still so new to Quakerism that reading blogs like yours really helps me in very profound ways- so thanks! May I link to you?