Friday, April 29, 2011

What we keep hidden

It's been quite a week.  Let me put it this way, I've been absolutely pre-occupied by it all.  Distracted, consumed, unable to focus on anything else.  At first it was just me.  But it wasn't long before E, and even Beve, got sucked in as well, and before you knew it there we all were, listening to the experts, paying minute attention to what each said about how things would go, what they thought would happen. And wen I say minute attention, I mean it.

See, I've been around this block before.  Was visualizing this week exactly like the last--and how that ended wasn't a fairy tale.  No sirree, Bob.  Not even close. 

And neither was this week.  Not for us, anyway.  See, this week, some @*#% critter crawled up under my beautiful jacuzzi tub that gives me such necessary respite, and that critter (ok, ok, it was a rat, I'd just rather call it a critter, sounds more benign) took a huge bite through the wiring and fried itself to death.  AND STUNK UP bathroom.  At first I just barely smelled something, so cleaned every blasted thing in the room within an inch in its life, and still smelled that odious odor.  But back then--like a week ago--Beve and E couldn't even smell it.  But a day or two passed and the odor grew to the point that they could, and I was certain we had a busted pipe beneath the house, leaking raw sewage all over.  And let me tell you, that's something we unfortunately have experience with.

When Beve and I bought our first house--an old farmhouse that had sat empty for a very long time, so Fannie Mae sold it to us for a song!--we had to take it as is, of course.  The first weekend, we discovered that the alder trees lining our property line had buried their roots into our sewage line, and the Roto-Rooter we called when the sewage spilled all over our basement garage floor got his drill stuck and broken in those gigantic roots.  It was nightmarish. 

And this is what I was picturing in the crawl space beneath our bathroom.  Our only-two-years-old remodeled bathroom.  Heads would roll, I was thinking.  We called the plumbers who did the work for us, and they came out in a hurry.  These things worry them, too, of course.  One of them--the more agile--bent himself into a pretzel and managed to get into that small crawl space.  The next thing I knew, he was back out, standing in my back room in his stocking feet with his t-shirt off.  The good news was that everything wa bone dry down there.  The bad news was, he'd found evidence of critters.

I don't think I've slept since. 
No, that's not true.  We've had rats before and dealt with them.  We called a BIO-BUG exterminator who came out and wanted to charge us 400$ to do what we can do ourselves--and when I asked him about getting rid of that dead critter under my tub, he said, "The smell will go away in a couple of days.  It's a small creature, it decomposes quickly enough." Good luck, and thank you very much. Oh, and have a nice day.

He's right, of course.  The smell is already better.  But the 'yuck' factor hasn't left me.  You know what I mean?  There's a dead thing beneath my bathtub and now I know it.  How am I ever going to take a soothing bubble bath again?

But there's always something yucky and smelly beneath the surface, if we look deeply enough.  The earth is littered with the dead, of course.  Any person who studies soil would tell you that.  But in a more spiritual way, I wonder how many dead and smelly things I try to keep hidden, hoping they'll just decompose?  I know some of them, of course.  To my shame, I know them.  How I felt about my mother for most of my life--that was a pretty ugly, smelly thing.  And there are the attitudes I've held toward others--the critical spirit I have (it's part of my family gene pool--we come from a long line or critics, thanks to our paternal grandmother, who may well have learned it from hers), my laziness, my...well, I don't know that I can bear to take all of those smelly things out tonight, the odor might just knock me over. 

But we all have them.  Don't we?  And most of the time, if we can't smell them, we pretend they aren't there.  But there are rats in the crawl spaces of each of our hearts, I reckon.  If this wasn't true, we wouldn't need the Holy Spirit.  And we do need Him.  I do.  I need Him to take His flashlight and shine it in all the crawlspaces of my heart, to go searching out all the rotten, ugly, smelly parts of me that do not honor Him.  I may not like Him doing this, it may not always be pleasant, but I absolutely, completely, utterly need Him to do this.  If He doesn't, sooner or later, everything I try to keep hidden will start stinkin' up everything I touch--every relationship with every person I know and love.   Can you imagine?  To have Him inside, but be so closed off to Him that you stink up every relationship?  When He can fully change you to make you new and fresh and a pleasing aroma?

It isn't easy to allow Him access to all that ugliness.  But the alternative, my friends, is nightmarish.

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