Litter is a common sight along our roads, in spite of those who make the effort to pick it up while walking. One is tempted to think that the world is divided into two groups: those who make messes and those who clean them up. But it isn't so clear-cut as that.
I think of the story of a woman who thought she would simplify her life by eliminating all the junk in her house. She started in the attic where all the things left by her grown kids were stored, and worked her way down, disposing of everything she no longer needed. She thinned out her clothes closet, reduced the number of kitchen gadgets, and donated books never read.
When she had finished that, she found her life was still not simple. Other things added stress and needed to be eliminated—memberships in clubs whose meetings she rarely attended, outings with friends she didn't really like, TV watching. When her calendar was clean, she felt than now life was just like she wanted. She sat down to enjoy the quiet.
But as she sat there she began to feel uncomfortable. Memories slipped into her mind of kindnesses and gifts she hadn't thanked people for, things she had promised but hadn't done for others. She got up and tackled all these leftover matters until there was not one left. And then she sat down again.
But now she began to feel troubled. Now that she was quiet enough to listen, she found the true stressors, the things she had been able to ignore by keeping her life packed with possessions and activities. She thought of the aunt she had never forgiven for slighting her; a grudge she carried about a missed opportunity; grief over a broken relationship.
This is the true litter in our lives and everyone has this kind of litter to clean up. It is part of the human condition and requires cleansing of the human spirit.