I reflect on my last relationship—with a man I waited on for seven years to “see me”—and I shake my head. It was the trash that did it. The trash is where I found my worth and value. I thank God because if not for the trash, I would not have known how low I had to go to see who I am in Him.
My ex would stop by my house sometimes after work. He worked in fast food, and there is nothing wrong with that—especially during the pandemic when everything was closed. A job is a job, right? Me, I am an educator. At that time, I had two jobs (and I still do). I am an English teacher by day and a secretary for a night school.
Sometimes after work, I barely had the energy to pull myself into the door or to eat. I never told him. I always assumed he would notice. He would take me out to eat for our date nights. Once he cooked. But it was the trash for me… One night I was tired from work and still had homework for my graduate classes. He had already taken off his shoes and gotten comfortable, laying down on the couch that I was still paying off in the house I had just purchased a few months before. I asked him if he would take the trash out. “I’ll get to it,” was his reply.
I’ll get to it? The words played over and over in my mind. I couldn’t comprehend each word because this is who wanted to marry me, and I’d bought a wedding dress and cathedral veil from David’s Bridal. (By the way, not just any wedding dress, but a Vera Wang Couture Gown on CUH-LEAR-ANCE that fit me PERFECTLY being a fluffy beauty standing at a solid six feet tall, and we already knew where our engagement party was going to be.)
No, not this guy?
Yes, this guy.
I remember how my Papi would come home after working eight to twelve hours laying tile, sometimes the only man for his business. While my mother fixed him a hot meal, he would walk around the house and collect all the trash. No one ever had to ask him. No one ever had to have a meeting about the roles and responsibilities. He just did. That was his duty and one of the ways he showed us he cared about us. Once I took out the trash for him because he’d left to see my grandma in Puerto Rico. Love. Love is what I grew up seeing day in and day out, and at the time I was clueless as to what I was privileged to witness.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it taught me something. It taught me that if a man is not willing to take the trash out for me so I can be free to relax, free to handle my business, free to breathe, then what is my worth—what is my value to him? I take the trash out all the time as a single woman. I also detail my vehicle by myself. I would even mow my yard (if I owned a lawnmower).
However, if I am in a relationship, things should look different than when I am single. When I was with my ex, nothing looked different. Everything was the same. Often we do not realize that iron sharpens iron. For iron to get sharper, it needs friction. There was no friction for me. My ex was not challenging me mentally or spiritually. I found my value and worth staring at that trash, and I’ve grown since then.
People may say it was my fault for allowing it, but here’s the thing: it lasted three months. He was a guy I saw off and on for seven years. We finally decided to try a relationship, and I will never regret it because, after my deliverance process and therapy, I realized he could only love me from the level he loved.
Sometimes, we expect people to pour into us the same amount we would pour into them, but we pour from a gallon while they pour from a pint. We’ll never be satisfied and will continue to feel empty. When I decided to begin walking with Jesus, He was—and has been—the ONLY One who could fill me until my cup runs over.
The trash is where I discovered my value and worth. It does not matter what happens to a twenty-dollar bill; it can be spat on, balled up, or torn, but it is still twenty dollars. No matter what I have endured, no matter what I have had to live through, nothing can change my worth or my value. Even if it was in the trash can, it can always be redeemed.Leave a Comment