In our town, some stores have opted to not use paper bags. Instead you can purchase a bag or bring your own canvas bag from home. I’m wondering why paper? I have such an abundance of plastic bags in my cupboard, I could recycle them and make bricks to pave my back yard. Oh wait, I believe someone has already done that. I have bags from the grocery store, bags from department stores, bags from retail stores and on and on. The bags have taken on a life of their own. One of these days, I expect them to take over my house and bury me in a sea of plastic.
When I was teaching drama in high school, I always kept a brown paper bag at my side. It was useful when someone became nervous about performing – just stick their head in the bag and have them breathe deeply to prevent an anxiety attack. I also found the paper bag to be useful when I was directing. If a scene was taken a deep dive, I would put the bag on my own head as a show of disappointment. I never had to say a word. They all knew what it meant. I probably could’ve suffocated in that bag many times.
The thought of covering one’s head with a bag sounds a bit ridiculous, but many times we’re doing that each time we stand back and let the noise of dissonance ring out and say nothing. Like the osterich burying his head in the sand, we can become oblivious to the clamor of injustice or disconent. The truth is, a paper bag isn’t distancing us from any of it The noise always seeps through and is next to impossible to squash. We can temporarily separate ourselves from the world as we know it by turning off the news, social media, the press, our own opinions, and the Internet, but somehow we cannot ever really silence it. We shouldn’t really turn it off anyway, as difficultf as that may get. God wants us to be involved in our world. We have to live in it for 70-80 years or more. Our real focus should be on Him. Once we realize that He’s in control of everything we experience, it’s easy to let go and have true freedom.
I don’t condone walking around with a paper bag on your head. I have enough problems breathing with a mask on my face. I do think that God wants us to take an active part in the world we inhabit. We can make a difference. We can foster change. We can express support for those who can’t do so themselves. We can financially give to those in need. We are God’s instruments for all of that to occur. Take the blinders off, remove the bag, get your head out of the sand and participate in life.