You Can’t Always get What You Want, Part Two

Not Too Big.

Trash Can Hunting

All I wanted was a new trash can for our kitchen. My requirements seemed simple enough: it had to fit in our trash can space inside a lower cabinet and have a lid.

Easy, right?


I spotted a can that looked perfect, paid for it, brought it home. It was too tall. I returned it and chose another one, several inches shorter.

It was too wide. I returned it.

Rich measured the cabinet that’s home to our trash can. I put a tape measure in the car.

The task had become missional. We visited Target, source of all things plastic. We measured trash cans. None would fit our cabinet, except for a teensy one intended for a bathroom.

We came home empty-handed.
I turned to the internet, because I would not be defeated in my quest for a new trash can. Somehow this mundane household need had become something winnable, and I intended to win.

I quickly found a can that would fit our space. But I wasn’t prepared to spend $319 for a trash can.

After a fruitless week I gave up. I abandoned the mission because I resented the time I was pouring into the task. I had other priorities, didn’t I? I wasn’t going to win the Great Trash Can Hunt after all. We would just live with the broken lid on our old trash can.

A month later, I found it. I wasn’t looking for a trash can. I’d stopped at the store to buy paper towels and tissue for the office where I work. And there, right next to the paper towels, was a small display of plastic wares–including a trash can that was short, narrow, and had a lid.

And by the time I got home, I’d forgotten that it was in my back seat. I remembered later, after I’d greeted Rich and the dogs, prepared dinner, and called my dad.

I’m not sure what to make of the trash can hunt. 
Some days I wonder if I was supposed to give up trying to conceal our rotting, smelly trash. I mean really–everyone has garbage, right?

Some days I wonder if I was meant to get comfortable with the broken trash can before I could replace it with an unblemished one.

And some days I wonder what important dreams–winnable things that matter, not foolish vanities like a new trash can–I’m strangling with my clenched grip.

4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5 (NASB)