Lessons from a Poop Bag — Chasing Empty

I assumed the misbehaving “poop” bag hitched a ride from the wind, gratefully escaping my pocket to evade its sure fate. As in, who wants to be a poop receptacle? In a former life, this spunky bag lived on a squished roll at the supermarket, on its way to having something yummy and edible stuffed inside like broccoli or red lettuce or maybe even artichokes! Being a produce bag is not fantastic, but It’s a J.O.B. and carries with it a utilitarian kind of respect.

So, maybe you want to know why we use plastic bags in the face of climate change? Seriously. Reusable produce bags are a carbon-reducing option. My friend Marilee uses them, as does Alexandra. That said, we justify plastic vegetable bags at the grocery store by repurposing them for doggy poop bags. Maybe we should use leaves, but the park doesn’t approve of leafed poop in the trash cans. I must remember to send them a copy of The Carbon Almanac.

So, this bag seemed determined to attain a better life: Freedom. Liberty. Happiness. Smart bag.

Okay! Game on!

As I chased it, the wind picked it up just before I reached it and scuttled it a few feet beyond my reach. “Almost got it!” I said to my dog (after all, it was her bag, albeit empty so far). The bag laughed as it scooted forward again. Did it look over its flappy shoulder taunting me, or was that my imagination?

I followed the gleeful little bugger for almost a whole block until I snatched it from out of the gutter. “Gotchya!”

The wind stopped, and the Universe smiled, knowing She had gently yet firmly guided me to a metaphor moment.

Huh?

I was chasing empty.

Because that’s what chasing empty does—it lands you in life’s gutter. That’s good to know, right? Well, but now… what do I do? Is the opposite of empty “full,” and how is that defined? Does not empty require living a life with Meaning (capital M)? What is and how do I find my Meaning and my life’s Purpose?

Next time I see an escaped, empty poop bag. I will pay attention. Or I may let it go. It’s too much work.

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