Junk Love – the strangest junking story ever told

Good Time Charlie, Le Junque

This was originally published three years ago, but I like to share it every year as a reminder of how much abundance we have.  Happy Junk Love to you all!

It is no secret that I have a love of junk, many of us share this passion. Ver early today, I had a new experience with junk love.  Today is recycling pick up day for our trash.  We have been saving our cans and bottles for some months to take to a recycling center for cash, but on the last trip, the return value had been significantly cut, so we opted to just throw our lot in with the recycle curb side pick up.  What to do with the bags and bags of Diet Pepsi cans?

aluminumcansgoogle images

We thought we would parcel it out each week until they were gone.  I had the idea that my single neighbor might have some space in her can, so under cover of darkness, (about 5 a.m.), I went to stash some trash in her can.  While depositing my goods, I saw the strangest sight.  A man at the end of my street, wearing a head lamp, was going through people’s trash.  (I too own a head lamp! But only for reading at night when Suffering husband wants to sleep, not for Dumpster Diving)

head lampgoogle images

He saw me and said a very brief “good morning”.  At first I was startled, then quickly realized his plight.  As he moved closer, I asked him if he was looking for cans, he very shyly replied he was and trying to earn extra cash to help feed his family.  I told him to wait a minute, I had a tons of cans.  When I came out with bag after bag of cans, he was so happy, he almost broke into tears.  He thanked me profusely, told me again and again what a blessing this was, and we parted ways.  As I went back into my comfortable, centrally heated home, cupboards stocked full of food, I said a prayer of thanks that I was able to not only help someone else, but help myself to remember that abundance is every where.  Even in our junk.

trash treasurewords and visions

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26 Comments

  1. Kelli@Restore Interiors

    WOW..those are the moments that really make you thankful. I wish my 10 year old had seen that when she was complaining this morning of having to have a cheese sandwich instead of a left over slice of pizza in her lunch. Ruined her morning….until we got our hearts straight in the car with a little worship and Kari Jobe. I have not forgoten about you. As I was doing laundry I realized I forgot to send you those codes. I am 6 days behind on housework. When your down and out…it doesn't clean itself:) I'll email you in a bit! It's looking great!!

    Reply
  2. Eugenia

    Hello I love to read your posts I am from Costa Rica and I feel good because I though I was the only one picking up trash … My mother does not like it at all, but they don’t understand how excited I feel when I see a treasure and I know already what to do with it and how it will look finished… At least I know now one person does the same stuff that I do and feels the same way when I see a piece of junk excuse a piece of work art….

    Reply
  3. Carol Lindberg

    Karen, see I get a blessing out of reading some of your ‘old’ posts too. I’m sure that man was so relieved and happy to have your cans. No telling just what was going on with his family for him to have to get out and get cans to make $ for food. Yes, we are all blessed more than we ever realize, whether we are in our cozy homes with lots of food in the cupboard and fridge and freezer, or feeling sorry for ourselves because the neighbors have some new item that we don’t! Now that is an extreme, but so true sometimes. Again, I’ll say it – I love your blog. Keep it up. Carol Lindberg Kansas girl. whoops, old Lady!

    Reply
  4. Delia @RevivedByDelia

    Wonderful story and well worth sharing annually! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it could be so much worse.

    Reply
    • GTC

      Thank you so much Delia. I always try to remind myself of that principle when life gets hard!

      Reply
  5. Paula@OMearasCottageCharm

    1 Peter 4:10-11

    10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

    Keep do your thang! You inspire us ALL!

    Reply
    • GTC

      Paula that is so sweet, thank you! Happy Valentines Day!

      Reply
  6. Lamar Lambert

    First, Happy Valentine’s Day! I have one of those headlights too that my wife thinks is a hoot. Now, about that Diet Pepsi- we have got to get you off those artificial sweeteners. Think seltzer! A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants!

    Reply
    • GTC

      LOL! I am so much better about the Diet Pepsi now than I used to be! I know, so bad for me, it’s my only vice!

      Reply
  7. Diana

    What a wonderful story on the day of Love. You showed great compassion and that shows who you are as a human being. Sending much love and appreciation to a special person. We should always be grateful for all things big and small and treat others the way we want to be treated. Happy Valentines Day! Smile……

    Reply
    • GTC

      Thank you so much Diana! That experience will always remind me of how very blessed I am. It was a gift for me to be able to help someone else in such a simple way. Hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day.

      Reply
  8. colette

    How very sad for that man and his family.
    He must have been really desperate!!
    So glad you helped him.
    this story will stay with me now.
    Hope i can help someone like you did

    Reply
    • GTC

      It was my blessing to share the story, and to experience it in the first place. Thank you so much for stopping by Colette.

      Reply
  9. Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Now you’re the crazy lady with the headlight on her forehead rummaging through people’s dumpsters at 5 am! Oh what a difference a few years make.
    And makes us count our blessings that we dive because we want to – not because we have to. Happy Hearts Day my friend!
    Kelly

    Reply
    • GTC

      If you see someone walking through your neighborhood with a head lamp on, just know I came good on my promise to visit.

      Reply
  10. LuAnn Braley

    Amen. This almost brought tears to my eyes, because my family has been at both ends of that spectrum.

    Reply
    • GTC

      Thank you so much LuAnn. I hope you never find yourself on the searching for cans to support your family spectrum again. However, I am sure you appreciate everything you do have. Yes, we live in a nation of abundance.

      Reply
  11. Audra @ Renewed Projects

    What a touching story of generosity and thankfulness. Oddly appropriate for this day of Love. And an interesting slant on the One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, especially for this man who was so dedicated to supporting his family. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  12. Michele

    Wonderful post and the best ending: but help myself to remember that abundance is every where. Even in our junk.

    Praise the Lord for Him using you to help that man and give you a gentle reminder of your blessings!

    Reply
  13. Patty Soriano

    I’m so glad that you had the cans to share. We see people often going up and down the roads here looking for cans. When I’m in the right place at the right time, I will share. There but for the grace of God go I…. I will often repeat.

    Reply
  14. Dolores

    Great story.

    Reply
  15. Sheila

    Good on you for helping the fellow out girl !!! When I, personally, take my life for granted and miss Gods grace in my life, all I need to do is think of people like this fellow and it really hits home that I’m better than ok and where do these people go to lay their heads down at night ? How do they survive ? These people are an inspiration to me and I look for them all the time. They right the sometimes cruel world we live in and show me I don’t have it so bad. Bless you sweetie 🙂

    Sheila

    Reply
    • GTC

      Sheila, this is the sweetest comment! Thank you so much for coming by and taking the time to write this.

      Reply
  16. Debra

    Great story. I love it when we are able to help someone( you don’t even know) and to know that it is truly appreciated.

    Reply
    • GTC

      Thanks Debra for digging back in my old posts to read this! I think about this every time I have a big bag of recyclables.

      Reply

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