Hold your marble in front of you: this is how our planet appears from 1 million miles away. Look closely into your blue marble at a light: in that much seawater you’ll find an abundance of life and virtually every element…

…This is all we have: our only home, a fragile and beautiful blue marble.

from bluemarbles.org

Twice a day, the tide brings in more trash to pick up, or the other beach-goers leave something or another behind.  And perhaps not every day, but most days, the kids and I pick up trash from the beach a few blocks from our apartment.

If you wonder why, its because we love this place where we live.

When I say we love where we live, I don’t just mean that we love it because its the beach. We love where we live because it is our home, and part of our theology is the idea that we should strive to enter into a positive relationship with the land where we reside. Loving where you live is not passive–it is as much of a relationship (and requires just as much work) as a significant other…

If this blue marble represents the Earth, then my portion of it is barely the size of a grain of sand.  On a road map of the state of Virginia, my portion of this blue marble takes up less space than a pencil eraser.  On local map, it takes up less are that a postage stamp.  Our stretch of land is only a few hundred feet long–we are, after all, two small children and one tired mom.  At most, we collect one or two shopping bags full of trash from our small stretch of shore. What we are doing isn’t going change the world.

But after just two months, I’ve noticed that we aren’t the only people on our stretch of the beach with a bag for trash anymore.

If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired

(Ghanaian proverb)