Sunday, April 14, 2013

What Is Left When YOU Leave?

This weekend I had the privilege of traveling with our youth group to St. Louis for a Mission Weekend.  This morning as we were cleaning up our weekend living quarters I remembered a lesson my mother had taught me when I first started babysitting:

Leave a place better than how you found it.
Of course, when she taught me that nearly three decades ago she was meaning such things as - if you feed the children, wash their dishes (and if there are other dirty dishes do those, too) and make sure toys are put away and tidy things up before the parents come home.
This morning as I was vacuuming (a floor that had needed some attention when we arrived) I was glad to leave the place in better shape than we found it and I was thinking ahead, wondering who would stay there next.
Then it occured to me that my mom's babysitting lesson is about far more than dishes, toys, or tidy floors. 
What if, wherever we went, we chose to leave it better than it was when we arrived?
What if we took that attitude with us to our workplace, the grocery store, the neighborhood park, our children's schools, our churches?  What would that mean?
Might we smile at a grumpy fellow shopper?
Might we pick up trash rather than curse the neighbors who left it?
Might we help a co-worker with a project even if weren't going to get credit?
What would our homes and families look like if this was our intention?
What would the world look like if we all decided to leave it better than it was when we arrived?