"Oh, Rubbish!" This was the favorite saying of an elderly lady who once lived at the end of our street. (I'll call her Inga). She was not the warm and fuzzy, hugging, cookie-making grandmother who doted on her grandchildren--or the neighbor kids. Her colorful language let everyone know she had an opinion about most everything.
One morning as my best friend and I walked to school, Mrs. Inga bolted out the front door. "You girls stepped on my newspapers!" she hollered. But we hadn't. "We didn't do it," my friend and I responded. Mrs. Inga's eyes narrowed. "Oh, rubbish!" she said, holding up the paper. It had a tear on the front page. We swore we weren't the culprits.
After school one afternoon, Mrs. Inga was raking leaves in her yard as we walked by. "Are they teaching you about our government?"
"Yes," I replied nervously, my voice squeaking.
She made a sour face and looked at me as if I'd been lying.
"Rubbish!" she said, turning her back.
Mrs. Inga was full of "trash-talk" no matter what the subject, and that included religion. The school bus stop for our Catholic girlfriends changed to the end of the street, so they started walking with us until they reached the bus.
One morning as we walked by with our friends in their plaid Catholic school uniforms, Mrs. Inga poked her head out the door. "So you believe in a "god" of some sort, do you?" she called out. The girls shook their heads, "Yes."
"Rubbish!" she replied, then closed the door with a slam.
While I was in college, we learned Mrs. Inga had passed away. I'd wondered if she'd ever changed her mind about God. I hoped for the best, but I had my doubts. I'd always wanted to say something to her face-to-face, but as a young child I didn't have the courage to do so. However, if I could have said something about her unbelief, it would be the same word she used: "Rubbish! "
As I grew up, there were a lot of times I had doubts about life, and sometimes about faith. At those times I reminded myself of the refuse can that sat next to my desk. When I came across something I felt was untrue, I knew just what to do. I imagined wadding it up into a little spitball and tossing it right into the trash can. Untruths held no value and I considered them to be nothing more than "rubbish."
It's a good feeling to dispose of the things we know are untrue, such as the "rubbish" my friends and I had been exposed to. We never understood Mrs. Inga's strange manner of expressing herself, but learned that just because she was older than us, it didn't mean she was necessarily right.
Getting rid of rubbish enables us to have more room for the things we know to be true, the good things we cherish, savor, and hold dear to our heart. And for me, that goodness includes my belief--and faith--in Jesus Christ the Lord.
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