Where’s you bin? (Where’s you’ wheelie bin?)

I’m delighted to announce that instead of commuting to a full-time job, I’m now living within walking distance of my new part-time job. I was working on a national government helpline. Now I work for local government, taking calls and enquiries about local issues.

Street lights, potholes, naughty doggies that leave little “gifts” behind them on footpaths… and bins. I spend a lot of my day talking about bins.

I never realised how passionate people are about their refuse and recycling. Some folks are very enthusiastic about how and when their bins are collected. It’s been an eye opener, I can tell you. In my 40-plus years, I’ve never thought about bins for more than five seconds at a time. I just throw stuff out and there’s a crew who come around every so often to take it away. I’m vaguely aware of collection day; the beloved is responsible for that particular blessing in our house. (He hasn’t called the customer service line yet. We’re new to the area, though, so it’s probably only a matter of time.)

Another thing I’ve learned is how little needs to be thrown away as waste for landfill. So many things can be, or should I say MUST BE, recycled. Gone are the days when we can just dispose of anything we like as rubbish. I do recycle responsibly, but after putting the particular material into the relevant receptacle, I remember it no more.

Hang on… that sounds familiar! I am reminded of the disposal service of our inner rubbish. There are things in our lives that absolutely have to go, habits and attitudes that if we don’t jettison will literally rot.

There are things in our lives that absolutely have to go, habits and attitudes that if we don’t jettison will literally rot.

But a lot of stuff can be used again in the future - recycled, if you like. God takes some negative experiences and difficult memories and makes them useful again, turning them to good. They become lessons learned, testimonies to His greatness. In a world where so much is disposable, God is not just upcycling; he’s renovating and renewing our very souls. He can give purpose and meaning to even the most dilapidated life and I should know.

When I’m on the phone in work, I try to bring a positive outlook and outcome to the calls. When it comes to recycling, I’m trained to reassure, reorder, recommend, resend, rearrange and resolve, all the while remaining calm (ish). I hope that the small task of sorting out a missed bin collection or replacing a recycling container will bring big relief to the stresses of their day.

Your Feint Saint is loving her rubbish ministry.

If ever you have to ring your local authority, be gentle! I know it can be frustrating if your wheelie bin hasn’t been emptied, but don’t flip your lid!

Annmarie Miles is originally from Tallaght, now living in her husband Richard’s homeland, Wales. If you’d like to read more between VOX Magazines, her blog is called Just Another Christian Woman Talking Through Her Hat. The Long & the Short of it, her first collection of short stories, can be found at www.annmariemiles.com/books, or you can pick it up in Footprints bookshops in Dublin.