Friday, May 23, 2008

Tubs of grass water

Our dogs stink this morning, that's all there is to it. They stunk last night, too, actually. SK and I were innocently trying to watch Grey's Anatomy and they came bursting in from the backyard and stunk up the place. "What the heck is that?" SK asked me, covering her nose with her sweatshirt. I hadn't the faintest idea. Beve yelled from the bedroom, "They discovered that the tub of grass clippings had rain water in it." Yuck! And like moths to flame, like--well, like hound dogs to water, they just had to drink that brackish stuff. And it just about killed us, though apparently not them.

This morning, the minute they were up, their scent had returned to normal--and our dogs are generally pretty nice smelling dogs, as far as that goes (unless a gland gets stopped up or something...oh, but that's too much information for you, isn't it?). But, as usual, they were out the door like a shot, but who can blame them? I'm pretty much the same way about my morning routine, so I didn't think a thing about it, except that they didn't race each other back through the flapping door, wagging stump and crescent tails, eager for my attention. No, this morning, they stayed outside for an exceedingly long time, and finally, when they drug themselves in, they drug that foul odor with them, stinking up the whole house, thank you very much. And I wanted to lit into them, the Beve, whoever else might be responsible for not dumping the water, for making it so they'd be drawn to something so odious that by their ingestion of it, my entire house reeks of it now. So I did what any logical human being would do, right? I gave them dog biscuits for their stinky breaths, and closed the dog door so they can't get out to it. (I know what you're thinking--why doesn't she just go dump it? Don't worry, I'll get to it, but I'm queen of the expedient, which may be one of my tubs...)

It, of course, led me to think about the things we're drawn to that foul up our lives. Neither grass nor water by themselves are bad, certainly. In fact, I'm a fan of both of them (though I am allergic to grass...). I love the smell of grass, the look of it, the feel of it on bare feet. And water! The older I grow, the more I realize how perfect water is. How it's one of the important gifts God gave us for our bodies. When I was young and thought it didn't taste very well, I missed the point of our absolute need of it. But without it, we die. The end, we die. That might be said of grass as well, you know, if you stretch and think of what happened in the 1930s Dust Bowl on the Great Plains when the farmers plowed grass off the earth for years at a time. Dust came, rain stopped, and the top layer of the planet blew into everything--every crack of every person, animal, building, book. But I digress. The point is, these two things, water and grass, on their own, in their own place, are very good. Made for us. But together, allowed to sit and ferment, so to speak, they putrify. Stink up the place.

I think there's a whole lot of sin in our lives just like that. Things just like the mixing of these two things. There are things in my life that on their own are perhaps good, but allowed to sit and ferment, they stink up my life. Things I don't deal with with people, the way I instinctively respond in certain situations. How I speak to the Beve when he's late. All tubs of grass water. Here's one personal. Books. Reading, I know, is good. But what kinds of books I choose to read, and how often I read, can distort a good thing into something less good. That 'how often' is pretty large for me--probably larger than most of you can imagine--but there's a line, even for me. And I guess my point is, we all have these things. Don't we? It isn't just the big things that stink up our lives. Maybe it isn't primarily the big things. Maybe it's just a little tub of grass water we're drawn to again and again and again.

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