I could smell it as soon as I opened the door. A little bit earthy, a little bit musty, like the beach after a rainstorm, but not in a good way. I knew exactly what it was, but I just didn’t want to deal with it right then. Or later. Or the next day.
Every time I went into the pantry, I could smell it a little bit stronger. I knew there was a rotten potato in there somewhere. But finding the offending tuber would mean taking time to take all the bags of spuds out of the pantry, putting them on the countertop, and going through each bag to find the mushy stinker.
Did I mention that I probably had 15 pound of sweet potatoes in there that I purchased for the low, low price of 28 cents per pound before Thanksgiving? That’s a lot of potatoes.
And the smell of a rotten potato is vomitous. It’s all I can do to get the fuzzy, slimy, dripping thing to the trashcan without my gag reflex kicking in and my lunch gurgling in my throat threatening to revisit.
But you and I both know full well that if those wonderfully nutrient rich meant-to-nourish-my-family potatoes are left as they are in the pantry with the rotter in the midst of them, they’re going to stink up the whole thing. Ruin all 15 pounds of the other potatoes they’re touching. Infiltrate the other foods in the pantry or smell so bad no one will be able to come near it. Create mold in the pantry that might creep into the walls and ruin the entire house if left totally alone and allowed to keep going and growing.
It’s kind of like the Christian life, isn’t it. We might get a nudge from the holy spirit, a sense that something is a little bit off, a little warning whiff that something in our life isn’t in pristine condition. But we sigh and think about the work it’s going to take to root out the offensive habit or the sin that’s worked its way into our daily routine and know how hard it’s going to be to “go there” and do the work to get rid of it. When left to stagnate, it gets putrid, sometimes embarrassing, and certainly not something you post on your wall or Tweet about–“Hey everyone, rather than dealing with my insecurities I’ve shopped us into debt!#imagemanagement” or “I just got fired because I’m lazy and did nothing but complain at at work, disregard the story that I told you about unjustly being let go due to ‘downsizing’#liar”.
So tomorrow, I’m determined that I’m going to head into the pantry. Do the hard work of taking out the reeking bags and painstakingly going through the potatoes to find the offending one(s) and see how much needs to be thrown out and how much is still salvageable. Wash the untainted potatoes and carefully re-stow them back in the pantry until we’re ready to eat them.
There’s another place I’m determined to storm into and do some hard work and cleaning as well. And it’s a lot more important than my pantry and those sweet potatoes.