What is that smell?

What is that smell?  Uh. That’s disgusting!  

Mom and I were sorting through our bags at the US Airways check-in.  You know that lovely rule that no bag can be over 50 pounds?  Well, we had some rearranging to do with all the books we had just picked up. As I squatted down to unload the extra weight, that’s when I first smelled it.

It? You might me asking.  Yes- it.  That naturally foul smell that no one except the French enjoy….body odor.  To my left was a British air pilot who was also “rearranging” his items in the worn camo luggage he carried.

As I saw him unload his gear, I thought to myself- That has got to be it.  Maybe he was at boot camp.  Left some clothes wet, stuck them in his bag, and now here we are.  Together in the airport.  Enjoying the fabulous smell of him.  Great.  At least I’m only here a few minutes longer.

Of course, we had one of those really attentive and friendly service representatives helping us.  Oh wait.  That’s right.  We were checking in at an automated machine and were then told to wait for someone to check our bags (I’m still contemplating their theory on that one….but that’s beside the point).

Seriously?  Do we have to wait here any longer?  Each second seemed like an eternity.

“Excuse me, Miss.  Is there anyone available to check our bags?”  It didn’t look like she was busy.

“Well, if you would just have some patience, I will be there to help you.”

Okay, so that wasn’t exactly the response I was after.  But if it gets the job done…

Bags checked. Long trek to security. What is that smell?  The pilot is gone.

Wind through security lines.  Shoes off.  Laptop out.  Belts off. Bins in the conveyer.  Walk through the detector.  Do the hokey pokey (maybe not the last one ; )

And still, the smell surrounds me.  Okay, this is ridiculous.

“Mom, do you smell that?  It’s disgusting!”

“No, I don’t smell anything, honey.”

Quick jog to the gate, but first a stop by the restroom.  The smell.  It’s following me.

So, I do what any sensible person would do.  I get into the stall and give my arm a lift.  It couldn’t be me.

But, oh, it was.  Anyone else hearing the “Natural Woman” song right now?

“You make me FEEL! You make me FEEL!  You make me feel like a nat-ural woman…..”  What?!

Who in their right mind forgets to wear deodorant?!  I would raise my hand, but you know…

I laugh at the thought of someone barging in the stall to see me sniffing myself (like that will make me any cleaner).  I just couldn’t believe it.  The whole time it was me.

Have you ever had one of those days?  A no deodorant day?  A day where you remember to do everything- wash your hair and body, brush your teeth, put on cute clothes and matching jewelry, fix your hair, put on makeup – but no deodorant.  Those two little swipes that can determine the depth of your social interaction.  What a day.

The funny thing is, I kept saying the whole plane ride- I can’t stand this.  It smells so bad.  And my Mom’s response?  “If it makes you feel better, I don’t smell a thing.”

It should have made me feel better, but it didn’t.  Just because she couldn’t smell it, didn’t mean other people couldn’t.  And, besides other people, I had to smell it the whole time!

How often does our stench escape the smell of the public, but it suffocates our very souls?  It affects the way we interact with others.

After I made my- ahem- “discovery,” I was much more conscious about being around other people.  Did they smell me?  I shouldn’t lift my arms.  Or get to close.  Or even make eye contact for goodness sake!

There are things in our lives that we notice that no one else ever will.  We’re the only ones who have the “privilege” of smelling.  No matter how many other right steps you’ve taken, no matter how good the rest of you looks, you have the potential to allow that natural odor- the flesh- to take over each day.  And it would have all been prevented with two simple swipes.

Spiritually speaking, we’re talking the Word and prayer.  And yes, it sounds too simple.  But it’s no Secret, we need this high Degree of protection! (Ok- enough puns. I’m getting nauseous- lol)  

It’s often the smallest things overlooked that lead to a foul smell.  And we look around, trying to blame it on everyone else, when we’re the ones who need a little reality check.

Let’s practice.  What’s a situation in your life that’s irritating you right now?  What’s something that stinks?  Don’t just read the question.  Stop. And think.  What is that smell?

Now- do one of the hardest things you can do- and take a whiff of reality.  Breathe deep.    

What’s really the cause of the odor?  If everything around you were to change, would it still stink?  Then it’s you!

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7a)

It doesn’t matter what anyone else says about how clean you smell or that you don’t smell.  What matters is the “hidden person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4).  What do you smell?  If there’s a stench in your heart that needs to be taken care of, do it!  Don’t sit around thinking it will just disappear.

And, if you are free from the stench, rejoice!  Lift those hands high and proud, and praise God that He has protected you today.  But, be careful.  Tomorrow’s a new day, and time for more deodorant.  Two simple swipes, and you’re off to a good start : )

“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)


2 thoughts on “What is that smell?

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