Inadequate Recycling Services
I have fond memories of my father — one of the fondest being when my father met my husband for the first time. In the late 1990s, I was living in Washington, D.C. at the luxury apartments at Van Ness South. As fine living as this place was, it was not environmentally responsible. It offered inadequate recycling services to tenants like me who were recycling enthusiasts.
One day in early 1996, my parents took a day trip to visit me. Coming from Jackson, New Jersey, my parents visited me infrequently, but they made a special day trip to see me because they were coming to meet my husband, then-boyfriend, for the first time.
My parents arrived and the four of us enjoyed a pleasant lunch and minor chit chat. Everything went well. It seemed as if we had just sat down to eat when it was time for my parents to pack up and go home. While I helped my mom in the kitchen, I could hear my husband talking to my father about things that had to get packed in the car to go back to New Jersey.
Recyclables Travel Across State Lines
My husband helped my father take their bags to the car. I handed my husband a large black garbage bag filled with plastic recyclables and asked him to give the bag to my father, complaining that my apartment building did not recycle plastics. I thought it would be a good idea to send the bag of plastics home with my parents to be properly recycled with them since the county in their area did a better job with their recycling services.
No sooner had my father received the bag from my husband than he started muttering under his breath complaining that he would not be taking his daughter's garbage on a 4-hour trek across state lines. As my father struggled stuffing the bag of plastics into the trunk of their car, my husband calmly stood there, waiting to help as needed, and as I recall, slightly amused at the scene that was unfolding.
Would my husband dare pipe up to tell his future father-in-law that he had to take the plastics? Oh no, not at all. My husband kept quiet, hoping to get on my father’s good side right away. Right then and there, my father punctuated the moment with a single hand gesture that accurately described me as a person and would become synonymous with my tendency to be stubborn.
The Hand Gesture of Stubbornness
After my father managed to slam the trunk shut on the bulging plastics, he motioned with his hands in the air, pretending to cut the air with a pair of scissors. No words were spoken, but the scowl on my father’s face more than made up for it. My husband did his best to stifle the laughter.
By motioning with his hands, my father was trying to communicate the fact that I was a stubborn person, while the scissors symbolized his wish for me to change (cut) my opinions or some variation of wanting me to “cut it out” (behavior, thought, idea, etc.).
Any explanation of the hand gesture would have been redundant. My husband already knew I was stubborn, despite having known me for only six short months at the time. I peeked out at the two of them and I could see my husband’s knowing smirk, telling the same story that the scissors gesture told. Both of them knew how fixated I could be, and how I was unwilling to change my position on things.
In the case of the plastic recyclables, I kept insisting that things be done my way because I felt so strongly about recycling. Both my husband and father went along with my persistent request because they loved me.
To this day, I still chuckle thinking about this story because I remember how funny it was seeing the exchange between a helpless husband and a frustrated father and the ensuing symbolism in the air without the utterance of a single word. My husband and I still smile, thinking about how this story about the recyclables perfectly illustrates how headstrong and stubborn I was and continue to be today.
Faith Requires Stubbornness
The concept of faith is similar to the importance of recycling for me - - both require a fair amount of fixed, unmovable, stubborn beliefs. It is good to be stubborn about something as airy as faith.
I view faith as a light, airy substance that is ready to take the shape and direction of its owner; if we ignore it, faith may easily retreat from our lives like windblown sand, but it can just as easily accumulate and crystallize like a snowball. It is up to us to shape the air - - faith - - that passes through our lungs.
The process of grasping the airy faith and solidifying it is also known as stubbornness. We must believe in ourselves and the powers of faith because we need that stronghold to stay steady and hold our ground when life’s circumstances sweep us off our feet unexpectedly. Faith helps us get over the surprise of falling down and helps us stay motivated to get back up.
Every person, I believe, is stubborn about something. It is in our human nature to feel strong emotions because we are intended to be beings of thought and passion. If we are passionate about adoption or animal rescue, for example, we will become obstinately loyal to our pet causes. Knowing how loyal we humans can be, we can use the same zeal to be stubborn about our faith.
The very essence of life brings us the sweet and the sour, the bland and the pungent, the soft and the prickly. All of the good things are easy to swallow; all the bad things cause indigestion. Every single day, something bad will come into our lives and try to bring us down.Every single day, someone will criticize or be rude or offend in some way. And every day, we must activate our faith in the same stubborn fashion as I did with the recyclables, so that faith can begin to work wonders in our lives.
Are you stubbornly passionate about something? Do you think you can apply that same admirable stubbornness to your faith?