Crap or Compost?

We all have plenty of crap in our lives.

Maybe we’ve been fired from our job, or we don’t like our job, or we don’t like our boss.

Maybe a friend has died, or a family member, or a pet.

Maybe our marriage is in trouble. Maybe our marriage has failed, or we can’t find anyone who will stay around long enough to marry.

Maybe our degree is useless, or we never finished our degree, or we never went to school.

Maybe we’re drowning in debt, the product of a hundred decisions that seemed like the right thing at the time.

Maybe we’re too tall, or too short, or too old, or too young, or the wrong sex, or the wrong race to do what we want.

Maybe the candidate we want for president is losing, or we can’t imagine voting for any of the declared candidates.

There are plenty of reasons our lives aren’t going in quite the direction we want them to. Plenty of reasons to wish we were someone else, somewhere else, doing something else. Maybe anything else.

Plenty of reasons to give in to despair, to throw up our hands and decide this is as good as we can hope for. Plenty of reasons to give into fear and anger and hatred and let ourselves become bitter and grumpy, blaming our condition on others, maybe even plotting our revenge for the way they stole our success from us.

Plenty of reasons to lie down in the crap of our lives and wallow in it. But be careful–if we wallow in our crap long enough, it becomes BS.

But crap can be beneficial if we’re willing to put it to use. Collect it, let it sit for a little while, mix it with other things, and it becomes compost. We can use it to grow food, or flowers to admire, or a tree to provide shade for our children.

Let our crap become compost, and we can use it to grow.

In agriculture, turning crap into compost is hard work. Shoveling, carrying, collecting, packing, turning, mixing–it’s hot and dirty and smelly and a lot of effort.

In our lives, though, the hardest part is living through it. After that, it’s not much more than choosing to grow instead of wallow.

Choosing to grow comes with its own hardships, just like every other choice we make: it takes effort, because it means moving instead of sitting still, and our friends who choose to wallow won’t like it that we’ve chosen to grow. Some of them will try to hold us back.

But we’ve already been there. We’ve already decided wallowing is not the life we want.

And for all the reasons we have to wallow, there’s really only one reason to grow: because if we do, we have a chance to make tomorrow better than yesterday.

That’s worth a little effort, isn’t it?

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.