(Come up from front of church dragging trash bag and talking about how tired you are of carrying and dragging this bag of trash along with you every day all day long)
Max Lucado tells the story of a woman who is tired—she’s weary—and she flops down on a bench and drops her bag of trash between her feet.
A bag of garbage that she has been accumulating through the years and she has to take it with her everywhere she goes.
Everything aches, her hands, her feet, her neck, her back—all because of the bag that she is carrying.
Oh, to be rid of the trash. But she has to carry it with her. She can’t really remember her life without the trash bag. As a little girl, maybe.
A car drives past her and splashes mud on her bag and on the bottom of her jeans—but she’s too tired to do anything about it. A man gets out of another car with his own bag of trash—He slings it over his shoulder and heads for the office.
They don’t even look at one another as he passes by. A young mother walks by—holding her baby in one arm and a bag of trash in the other. An old man walks by—his bag of trash so long it hits the back of his legs. He glances at the woman and tries to give her a weak smile.
“I wonder what’s in HIS bag?” the woman thinks. “Regrets.”
She turns to see who spoke. It was another man—a man with a kind face—she looks for his bag, but doesn’t see it.
The old man disappears and this new man tells her, “As a young father, he worked many long hours and neglected his family. His children don’t love him and he has many regrets.”
She doesn’t respond—He asks her, “What’s in your bag?” She doesn’t answer him—she wouldn’t even look at him.
“Shame,” he says back to her. “Too many wasted hours and wasted dreams. Too many hours looking for love in all the wrong places—last year—last month—even last night. Shame.”
She waits for him to sort of “pass judgment” on her, but he doesn’t. “Tomorrow,--Friday—bring your trash to me tomorrow at the landfill.”
She goes home and that night tries to fitfully sleep, but sleep doesn’t come. She things about her childhood, as a young, pretty girl. She thinks of here wasted life, wasted dreams. She thinks about the strange man who asked her to bring her trash bag to the landfill.
She wakes up. It’s Friday morning. She grabs her bag of trash and sets out for the landfill. There are other people there, carrying bags of trash, headed in the same direction—toward the landfill.
The man next to her smells of alcohol. A teenage girl walks past her. The woman of shame speeds up to catch up with her.
The teenage girl looks at her and says before she can ask, “My bag is full of rage. Rage at my father, rage at my mother. I’m tired of all the anger. He said he’d take it all away.” The woman nods and they walk on together.
As they arrive at the landfill, they notice that it is tall with trash. There are hundreds of people walking ahead of them, all with their own bag of trash.
The air is silent and they hear a scream pierce the silence. All is quiet, and then they hear the scream again. As they get closer, they notice that it’s the man.