What the Strange and Horrible Odor Was

All day, a strange odor wafts through the entryway, the kitchen, the living room, and the hallway.  I’m actually on my knees, sniffing to discover the source.

“Can you smell that?”  I ask everyone who comes by the house. 

Finally, I trace the odor to the corner of the garage where I spy a tiny hole in the wall.  My husband comes home, and I just point my finger and declare, “Something is in there.”

I run to safety inside the house (I’m a chicken) and leave my brave and wonderful husband alone in the garage.  With a flashlight and tools to cut into the wall, he finds the source of the impossibly foul and impressively permeating smell.

A tiny, deceased chipmunk.

Within a few minutes of removing the odor source, the entire atmosphere changes. 

All morning, I consider the power of that one small thing to overtake the whole environment.  That little thing became impossibly foul and impressively permeating.  I thought of my own life and those small things that inevitably change the atmosphere:  negativity, complaining, gossip, suspicion–all the not-flair that can overtake a life.

I’m on a mission to search and root out the smallest things that I imagine cannot really harm.  Actually, they do.  They quickly become impossibly foul and impressively permeating.  Living with flair means removing that odor source.  I pray God shows me quickly and thoroughly. 

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Journal:  What foul smelling thing do we need to remove in our lives?

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What’s Wrong with This Picture?

As someone who–for nearly a decade–was an expert in unhappiness, I’m learning what makes living with flair so important.  At our worst, we become deeply cynical and disillusioned with our own lives.  Everything’s wrong.  Nothing’s working.  We want to abandon ship and find new lives somewhere else.   We become desperate for change, desperate to feel alive, desperate for love. 

We need to catch each other in our descent and turn our faces back to the light.

We need to find the flair right here in the muck.  We need to rise above it.  Our happiness is at stake. 

It’s just too easy to find out what’s wrong.  We do it naturally.  My natural inclination is to figure out what’s not working, what’s out of place, what’s off kilter.  The brain seeks proportion and harmony, so we easily identify variation and error.

But we get stuck there in despair.  We can’t move forward.   Or else we take drastic measures to put things right.  We act out of fear and confusion. 

Maybe a better technique means I find out what’s right.

What might happen if I focus on those small nuggets of good in whatever wrongness or sorrow I’m experiencing?   Most days, the temptation to criticize and complain takes over the whole landscape of my soul like clouds moving over the sky.   My heart aches and I sink down into the mire.   God is neither good nor trustworthy in this particular landscape.  I let that lie fester and bleed out. 

But not today.  I commit to finding what’s right in any wrongness or sorrow or anything I’m missing or hating or dreading.  I turn that thing to face the light and find out what’s so right.  That one right thing might be the bright hot air balloon that keeps me alight so I can find perspective, hope, and joy in the midst of the dark cloud. 

I’m still in my life with all its drama.  But instead of sinking down, I’m rising above it in a glorious ascension. 

(Landscape photo courtesy of Ian Britton at freefoto.com and Hot Air Balloon by Beverly and Pack flickr)

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