Ignoring Our Stench

Okay, I have neglected my blogging duties and I’m so sorry. I have been so distracted with life, I just totally forgot to sit down and write here. My fiction hasn’t fared any better though.

Last night, our poodle Amélie drank my Milo. Milo is a chocolate drink you mix with water. It’s made by Nestlé but I discovered it in Ghana, and it reminds me of my great experiences there when I drink it. I have been feeling “homesick” or nostalgic about Ghana lately, so I decided to mix some up last night. I left the glass beside the bed and went downstairs to shut off lights. Usually the dog follows me, but since I was in such a hurry that I failed to notice she didn’t this time.

When I got back upstairs, my wife commented that the dog had chocolate all over her face and then I saw the glass was almost empty. That little stinker! Needless to say, she spent the night in the cage, because 1) dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate and she has a tendency to poop and pee in the house if she gets sick or has an overwhelming urge; b) I don’t have much Milo left and I had spent some minutes getting just the right mix; c) she needs to learn to obey like our Yorki does.

I bring all this up because today when she hopped in my lap to kiss me, which she often does, she smelled like Milo. The thought occurred to me how often do we really smell like our sin? You may have heard the phrase “You reek of sin.” It’s something I’ve heard people say when trying to convict a person who is really wallowing in a messed up life. But I’d never thought of it as literal, yet in this case it was. That made me wonder how we stink to God.

In my fiction, I often write about spiritual themes. This is not only because of my own faith but because it’s a fascinating part of how people interact. I don’t use my fiction to prosletyze, but I do use it to examine the human condition and part of that is sin. I show how even my “good guy” characters have sin. It’s part of being human and the results create dynamic conflicts most of us can relate to and which add tension to both the plot and the relationships in stories.

But what if we all smelled like what we did? What kind of world would that be? Over time, would we just lose our sense of smell? Would we so adapt that we didn’t even notice? Sometimes, I wonder if that’s what we do anyway. It’s so easy for us to overlook our own sins and yet find fault with others. We hold our nose at them while completely failing to smell ourselves. It’s kind of like B.O. Sometimes we’re blissfully unaware of our personal stench and its effect on those around us.

In any case, Amélie reminded me that I need to watch how I smell. It’s an interesting though I’m sure will find its way into a novel some day, and more than that, something I am going to think about over and over again in times to come. What about you?

For what it’s worth…