One day, I stopped at the gas station and saw an old friend. She was busy picking up the litter throughout the gas station parking lot. After watching, I realized my friend had been simply walking by the station and had decided to take a moment to clean up.
It’s a small act, picking trash and depositing it in a garbage can. It takes little physical effort or time. However, it takes a commitment to take that moment, to exert that effort. Why?
Americans pride ourselves on our individualism. We find strength in our ability to care for ourselves. As such, we don’t have to take care of others, overwork ourselves, or even attend to what is happening around us. We can put our blinders on and live out our own existences, losing a sense of our own community.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
My friend continued on her way and I was left feeling self-involved. Finished pumping my gas, I decided to follow her lead and picked up some trash and threw it away. Driving away, I realized that creating that sense of community I believe is so valuable starts with taking pride in our community and being responsible for the space around us. It’s a small act to pick up trash, but it’s a large statement of community.
I’m Elsa Glover and that’s my perspective.