Image Courtesy of graur codrin/
Image Courtesy of graur codrin/

Last weekend’s newspaper carried a story of the annual environmental clean-up in one of the areas in Southern California. As we commemorate Earth Day on April 22, there will be many more, some along the shoreline and others in the alleys and sidestreets of more urban areas, and many will particpate. But many of us, who have chronic health conditions and/or ongoing, debilitating pain, will not be able to take part in any of these efforts.

It isn’t for lack of desire to help our Earth get cleaner and healthier. It’s because, at least for me, that these take place outdoors and I cannot be out in the sun. There is an increased risk of infection for someone on immunosuppressive drugs. The physicality of bending, picking up, carrying, and other activity on often uneven terrain is just not possible.

But this doesn’t mean I and others who suffer from health conditions cannot do some things to help the clean-up efforts. Here are some suggestions:

We can recycle our unused and expired medications responsibly.  Besides regular drop-off points staffed by many municipalities, some pharmacies will accept these for recycling/responsible disposal. All we have to do is make the effort to find out what we can do in our area, and we’ll be helping, not harming, our ecology.

We can donate those things we no longer use, instead of merely discarding them. Clothing, furniture, medical assistance devices (canes, prescription eyeglasses, etc.) may not be useful to us anymore, but they might be a godsend for someone in need. Again, a little effort can make a huge difference for someone else!

We can appreciate our world and bring beauty to it. On the way to the doctor’s office, do we turn inward, musing over the pain we’re in and what lies ahead? Or, do we take the time to look around us and just appreciate the fact that we’re able to move about God’s awesome world? The more gratitude we feel, the more our hearts will fill with love. And the more love we have, the more we are able to bring comfort, joy, and grace to others.  And the more we make an effort to beautify even a small corner of our home or outside world, the more we can participate in efforts to lift up this amazing Creation!

We can take good care – of ourselves.  As we work with our doctors and other medical professions to be good stewards of our lives, we are also paving the way to have more time for prayer and positive thinking for those who are more able to carry out clean-up and other efforts.

Celebrate Earth Day – in whatever way you can!  As your celebration continues, let joy and gratitude fill your heart and spill over into appreciation for this life and this world!



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