“It was so disheartening to see miles of litter on the Interstate on our way to the Arlington Wetlands—plastic bags matted together, wads of bleeding paper, food remnants in Styrofoam containers, beer and Pepsi cans, even face masks. What’s got into people to trash our world like that?” asked my friend as she stirred the quinoa in the pot while reducing the flame underneath. “It sure messed with our enjoyment of hiking once we got there.”

Her complaint recalled my annoyance, years ago, while paused at a stoplight watching the truck driver ahead of me flip a lit cigarette through his opened window onto the pavement. I wanted to retrieve the butt and ask him to dispose of it properly—perhaps in the ashtray of his truck. Then, I thought better of it, and the light changed.

Yet, littering a solitary cigarette butt suggests mindlessness, malaise, loss of élan, even varying degrees of depression. Such indiscriminate trashing also seeps into psyche and dumps indigestible particles that fester in generations-long resentments.

I know what this feels like because I’ve been there—but not for long, once I got into 12-Step recovery. Retaining “conscious contact with Higher Power,” per Step XI, is difficult, but doable. Within His grace, we thrive, no matter that Covid-19 issues lurk around us. Scriptures challenge us to emerge from within the fire—the First Letter of Peter 1 :7 and shine with care.