Many readers of my blog know I often mention David Pollay’s “law” here relating to a variety of topics. It is something that I adhere to in my own life because I figure life is too short to carry garbage around. It amazes how often people carry garbage and want to spread it. For someone whose life has been difficult to say the least, you would think that I would carry a lot of garbage around but I don’t.
My fondest memory of my father was at a beach in Windsor, Canada. We were on our way back to the ferry (to Michigan) but we were lost so my dad thought we needed a break from being in a cramped car. It was a really huge Buick Lesabre but we all under the age of 10 so we fit but we were still cramped – five kids in the back seat and my parents and my baby sister in the front (it was the early 80s – no car seats required). I was about 7 or 8 at the time and we stopped a beach whose name I don’t even know. My mom had not packed a change of clothes for anyone so when my mom told us to stay away from the water, my dad quickly quieted her down. So, the five of us (my baby sister wasn’t walking yet) took off our shoes and rolled up our pant legs. I think it must have been April because we were wearing pants. We were splashing in the water and then next thing I see is my dad, barefoot with his pant legs (he always wore dress pants) rolled up, in the water splashing with us. We stopped at a store and bought new clothes afterwards. As simple as it is, it is a memory I truly treasure.
My father was man who knew how to be content. He never held grudges and he was always pleased with what life handed him. He never made a million but kept a roof over our heads and kept us fed. I never heard him argue with anyone in the street, while driving, while in a store, or anywhere. He never raised his voice and never yelled at his kids for anything. He always made us laugh with the ridiculous things he said and did and that Mediterranean accent was embarrassing to say the least. When you came across someone who was angry about something, he was always polite and made that person’s mood better. My father was a heavy set man who looked like he would send you crying to your mom if you messed with him, but he had the heart and soul of a saint.
Discovering the Law
When I discovered the Law of the Garbage Truck about six or seven years ago, I was going through a lot. I was just finishing a messy divorce from my first husband, relieved that I had got full custody of my son, and trying to find my way in the world as young single mother. The law landed in my email one day after I had returned home from court the day that I finalized my divorce. I don’t remember who sent it but the law and the story behind the law hit home for me. The law made me think of my father and how he never let garbage trucks dump on him.
The law reads: “Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.”
Applying the Law
I have mentioned the law often in the last couple of years to my son who is now ten when we have dealt with situations that warranted its use and I never really thought he paid much attention. In fact, I mentioned it a couple days ago when he was talking about a really angry child at his school. This morning, I realized that he had been paying attention. Before dropping my boys off at daycare, we decided to pick up breakfast sandwiches from McDonalds. Everyone knows I am not a morning person and the lady taking our order was very rude. It was so bad that I found myself frustrated and by the third instance of her rudeness, I was ready to let her have it when my son whispered in my ear, “Remember the ‘law of the garbage truck,’ Mom.” Surely, I was due for a reminder. I smiled at the lady, told her that this is what we wanted, apologized if I was wrong, and thanked her profusely. She got quiet and then, politely, told us to have a good day.
What happened was, with my son’s help, I did not let that lady dump her garbage on me. Had I, I would have responded and started spreading her garbage around. Living with two chronic conditions and living with pain on a daily basis is difficult. None of us deserve to live this way. However, it is an excuse to have a negative attitude and spew garbage around. I do find, however, that there are people who have an aura of negative energy around them because of living with chronic pain. I don’t walk in their shoes and I know that pain is personal so I don’t know why that is the case, but at the same time, I do believe that we have a choice. Remember the Charles Swindoll quote, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I get that life is hard for some people. Heck, it is hard for me, but spreading garbage around means that you are not opening your heart and seeing the beauty that life has to offer.
I think that sometimes we all need a reminder, as my son had to remind me. Let’s take the pledge together and not let garbage trucks dump their garbage on us and to not spread garbage around.
I plan on doing a review on David’s book with a giveaway in the next couple of weeks but this post came to me this morning because my son had to remind me not to let others dump their garbage on me and not to spread their garbage around.