Inspired by someone who doesn’t go to church who described the liturgy of visiting the tip (recycling centre!) on a Sunday morning. Just having moved house following a marriage break up, I am well acquainted with this liturgy and it has been a very moving experience.
Queuing to get in and find a spot at the front – less distance to travel when wrangling heavy loads. Boots open, disgorging the musty smells of damp, dust, disaster. The detritus of lives lives laid bare, wrestled down from lofts, garages, family homes; rendered worthless by death, divorce or downsizing.
Penance is sought in selecting the suitable receptacle, at pains to avoid the dread judgement of skip 22: Non-Recyclable. Hope flickers when the officiant indicates the furniture container with an imperceptible nod, offering the promise of resurrection. The privileged few chosen and set aside for new life breathed by those whose creativity redeems. Memories, lost hopes and broken dreams thrown down, failures and bad decisions; family heirlooms next to the accumulated baggage we hoard but keep out of sight.
Those who share these liturgies make occasional eye contact, respecting the sacred space of private struggles enacted in the open air, except on occasion solidarity leads others to assist in carrying the heavy load, like Simon of Cyrene. The kindness and dark humour of the priests, the overseers, punctuates the gloom and the ceremony turns to absolution, letting go of losses and moving on, lighter, freer, grateful for the release. Amen.