WORDS FROM W.W. March 6, 2009

“The Mainstreaming of Styrofoam”

We go through “spells” of eating out. (Since we’ve been going through the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace University, that has decreased greatly. In fact, I think tonight we’ll go out to eat in celebratiuon of the facvt that we don’t eat out as much any more!).
When we’re in the midst of one of our “spells” our refrigerator gets stacks of Styrofoam take-out boxes in it. One has the remnants of a cheeseburger and fries in it. Another has a baked potato with three bites missing. A third one has lettuce that has lost the crispness of when it was first in a salad bowl. There in the refrigerator they are stacked like building blocks, each one in its own Styrofoam container. Sometimes if I have a meeting or some other kind of function and I miss the usual dinner time meal, I come home and take one of the take-out containers and finish off the remains.
And after I do that I toss the container. No one washes styrofoam around our house.
One and done!
Finished and diminished!
We often don’t think anything about it…unless I start re-heating the leftovers in the Styrofoam container. If Carol catches me she tells me that it’s not good for me, kind of like microwaving things in plastic containers, or eating microwave popcorn, or any of a number of other things. (Why can’t eating broccoli be bad for you?)
Styrofoam, however, has mainstreamed itself into our culture. It’s cheap! It’s so “mainstream” that we seldom think about environmental effects and repercussions with it. We use it, toss it, and go on to the next meal.
The problem is the mindset that is becoming more and more prevalent. Styrofoam is just one example of an ever-growing list of examples that communicate that we are short-term, limited-focused, self-absorbed people who live in the moment and don’t worry about the future. Jesus said something about that in regards to sparrows and lilies, but I don’t think he was telling us to live for the now and not worry about the repercussions of our decisions in the future.
I see “the mainstreaming of a Styrofoam mindset” infecting how we view relationships. Marriages that are long-term are in short supply. More and more people treat marriage as an episode of their life; and the next marriage will be another episode; and the next…you get the point.
We are more about Styrofoam relationships than fine china commitments. You don’t throw away the fine china. You treasure it. You display it in “the china cabinet”. There are no styrofoam cabinets, just trashed and “not yet trashed”. In our house, the china symbolizes something special. It’s precious and fragile, so it is handled with care. Chinaware is defined as “high quality”.
Oh, that our relationships would be considered that!
I’m not saying that ended relationships and divorce court marriages aren’t void of pain. Many of them are so painful the persons involved never recover or heal. But many relationships are void of value. There has been a lack of investment, and so it’s easy to toss it and start again. That’s why Styrofoam is so popular. It’s cheap and replaceable.
There are a lot of landfills overflowing with Styrofoam. The “white stuff” hangs around there like a hovering mother-in-law.
What if high-commitment relationships became more mainstreamed? What if there was such value placed on our relationships that we would hold them with care?
May our relationships have a little more “china” in them!

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One Comment on “”

  1. Pam Says:

    I never thought of the importance of china in that way before. I, ummm, don’t have any.. didn’t want china when we got married. I actually might have wanted a set if the idea had been presented like this… the symbolism of commitment, quality and care in the relationship. I was more of a practical, “get something you can use everyday” – mindset, which I guess still has to do with commitment- you have to work on relationships on a daily basis, even when things are worn and not all shiny, new and pretty like at first. You don’t throw the dishes out when the little chips show up and the pattern fades .. you keep using them for awhile before deciding to take a new step with new dinnerware. Hope that makes sense — you don’t throw the everyday dishes out like you would styrofoam .. you work with them… Good thought .. thanks!!

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