Excuse me. Is that your poo?
“…shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.” (Matthew 10:14b)
I spend a good portion of my day walking around with another’s poo in my hand.
You probably guessed I’m talking about my dog. Because we don’t have much of a backyard, we take a lot of walks. Even so, I don’t claim to understand her complicated algorithm for choosing the exact spot she wants to go. Whatever the formula—it requires a lot of sniffing. But once she’s done her duty, I’m left holding the bag. Quite literally. Holding the bag.
It reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with a family member. We were talking about an organization I was excited to work with on a project, when he interrupted suddenly. “Oh,” he said. “They’re not good people.” I was taken aback, so I asked a few more questions. It turns out this organization had bad leadership—in the 1960’s. Since that family member was a child at the time, it was obvious he had gotten his information from someone else. Still, I was stunned that he remembered—and held onto it—for forty years.
I can’t find any scripture to support the idea that we have to carry other people’s poo for them. Their hurts, fears, grudges and tragedies. Pray for them—yes. Support, encourage, lend assistance. Yes, yes, and yes. But carry around their sad stories, their unhealed wounds or negative energy? I don’t think so.
I love to be helpful (see the description of an enneagram two here), so I’ve learned the hard way. Some people just want to dump their poo on someone else, or play the victim long after the curtain has gone down. And then there you are, holding the bag. While they’ve moved on to greener grass.
I’m not sure if Jesus meant all this when he told his disciples to move on if they met with cool reception in the one-stoplight towns of Palestine. But I like to think it resonates with the fragrant spirit of his words...
So here's a question for your Friday:
Is the poo you carry yours—or does it belong to someone else to clean up?