Oceans of Emotions: Leave it better than you found it

April 22, 2010 at midnight
Updated April 22, 2010 at 11:23 p.m.

- Matthew 6:10

It is beach clean up time, but I was on the beach, fishing. As I prepared to leave, I performed a ritual that my dad taught me many years ago when I first started fishing. I left the beach better than I found it.

Most good fishermen pick up after themselves out of respect for the beach, but Daddy added to that rule by making sure we picked up even the trash others thoughtlessly left there. Each time I leave the beach, I can still hear his voice echo across the waves, "Leave the beach better than you found it."

Back when I learned this commandment, even the trash was different. We would take our brown grocery bag that Daddy kept in the car and we would pick up trash that consisted of bologna strings, empty glass bottles, wax paper and brown, shrimp-stained paper bags.

Today, I picked up three aluminum cans, some Styrofoam from a broken ice chest, a disposable diaper and some brown, shrimp-stained plastic bags, all of it non-biodegradable. We have really come a long way. Even our trash is better and it will outlast those of us who pick it up so that we can leave the beach better than when we found it.

Dear Lord, at this Beach Clean Up Time, I practiced what I had learned from my yesterdays so that there can be better tomorrows. Our todays, yesterdays and tomorrows really do add up to what we call Life. Help each of us, as we try to live our lives, that we live in such a way that when we leave, we can say, "I left my world a little better than when I found it."



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