Do You Smell That?
The smell either hits you before you see it or you spot it and brace yourself for the pungent odor that is sure to follow. It is the unmistakable stench of a skunk that’s been hit by a vehicle, its last act of defiance to spread its “fragrance” on the road it wasn’t lucky enough to make across.
The other day my wife and I came upon the carcass of a dead skunk and my wife quickly covered mouth and nose with her shirt but because I was driving my hands weren’t free. Then, it hit us. “Whoa!” I said shaking my head as the stench filled the truck. Eyes watering, nose burning, I did my best to not inhale, trying to will my nostrils shut. “Is it gone?” Beth asked. “Not yet. Hold on. It’s still in here!” were the only sentences I could muster. Finally the offensive aroma diminished and we both took deep gulps of fresh air.
I’ve come across people who give others the same reaction as the deceased polecat. Folks with rotten attitudes, judgmental spirits, bitter, angry individuals whose fragrance seems to permeate the places they go and the people they encounter. Being in their presence is difficult. You’re tempted to hold your nose when coming near them for fear of breathing in their noxious and infectious disposition.
It’s easy to dislike, avoid, dismiss these caustic people with whom we share the road of life. We look for a detour or hope they take another way or just go away. Wisdom teaches us that good can be found in every difficult person and difficult season. Life’s path brings us to unplanned encounters and unwanted traveling companions but these burdensome, divine?, periods of struggle with others reveal truths about our own particular pungency.