In terms of home ownership, the only good mouse is a dead mouse. Unless, of course, the olfactory evidence informs you of the deceased, but you can’t locate the corresponding corpse. There are various outcomes connected with this unfortunate demise:
The odor tends to encourage one to relocate to a different part of the house. That’s not necessarily so bad if the size of one’s abode can accommodate such changes. If, on the other hand, you live in an apartment, or a house full of other people, say, three or four children, that’s not quite so easy.
And/or we try to cover up the smell with other smells. I would also tend to opt for opening the windows for that fresh air aroma, but this also is not so convenient in December or January. So, instead, I get a mixture of holiday cinnamon with dead rodent, which will likely not do so well on the market next Christmas.
We also might avoid having guests over (which, if you’re a bit of an introvert like me, is not necessarily anything new…) Because we sure wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by showing anything other than perfect, especially if this is their first time to our home.
The reality is that we all have rotten, decaying pieces of our past still hiding somewhere in our lives. Unfortunately, even within the church community, we tend to react in ways very similar to my above predicament:
- We try to emotionally compartmentalize. Rather than dig out and heal the offending part of our past, we simply move to a different area of our lives, including relationships, jobs, (churches)…unfortunately, the odor tends to linger on us, and we shouldn’t be surprised if others begin asking where the smell is coming from.
- We may try to gloss over the problem with supposedly stronger fragrances, like a happy face, laughter, or even throwing ourselves into someone else’s pain in an attempt to hide—or to hide from—our own.
- Eventually, we may give up and decide we’ll just have to live with our stinkiness by ourselves, and correspondingly remove ourselves from the very society that we need to help us heal. Okay, admittedly the Church has screwed up in this area time and again, and no excuses there. But the reality is that God made us for community, and it is within community that true restoration occurs. There are those who really do care more about the person than the odor of past (or present) difficulties, and the restoration that comes from these relationships is more than worth several tries to connect.
Sometimes finding the defiling creatures are challenging, and may even call for a bit (or a lot) of ripping and tearing before the reconstruction can begin.
But your nose (and others) will thank you for it.
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”
1 Corinthians 2:14 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.