Man!  What smells??!!

Summer, 2002

What a blessing life is!

...though, if I had a bag of sugar donuts right now, it would be even MORE of a blessing!


I know it is odd to say life is a blessing in something titled, “Man! What Smells?!”

But, I have some fun music playing on the stereo (we finally became "hip," and can burn our own CDs ), I’ve got some coffee brewing, the sun is shining - and the kids are still in bed!

But life sure has been an adventure around here lately.

We had no electricity for a couple of days. We ran out of money WAY before we ran out of month. The electric company wanted $600 we didn't have, so the nice man came and pulled the plug on us.

Actually, it was kind of fun, sitting around the kitchen table by candlelight, cooking all our meals over a fire on the grill out in the backyard. We were thrown back into days on the prairie. No lights, no computers. No CDs to listen to, no DVDs to watch.

It certainly was DIFFERENT.

We would have gone along that way until the end of the month if it weren't for all the food rotting in the freezer. That wasn't good (more on that in a bit). So, we went to one of those loan shark Cash Stores (you know, where they charge you something like eleventy percent interest) to tide us over until payday, and got Com Ed paid.

A couple of days later, we were back to the 21st century (for better or worse!).

The next day, the transmission went out in the van. Another $1400 dollar expense we didn't have the money for.

Ah well...

Back to the freezer...

So, I tried to salvage as much as I could by transferring semi-frozen hams and turkeys and who-knows-what to an assorted collection of coolers. And I guess that might have worked for, oh, maybe an afternoon.

Not two days.

After a while, people would walk into the kitchen, kind of crinkle their nose and say, “What stinks?” It was getting pretty bad. But NOW what do you do with it? A collection of coolers full of rapidly thawing turkey and ham?

Try to ignore it!

That was my brilliant plan. Who wants to actually OPEN a cooler full of rotting meat???!!

But, finally, I steeled myself, grabbed a couple of heavy-duty garbage bags, and dragged the coolers out to the back yard.

OH, MAN!!! Did it WREAK!!!!

I did that thing where you try to make your arms longer than they really are, trying to get your nose as far away from the stinking thing in your hands as possible (like I used to do with dirty diapers), and stuffed the rotting carcasses into the garbage bags. And then I stuffed them into ANOTHER garbage bag, and then into the garbage tote.

A couple of hours later, it was a scene from "Lord of the Flies.”

The tote was standing in the middle of the back yard, like some weird primitive tribal god, surrounded by a buzzing cloud.

I hosed the thing down with Lysol, but the flies were unimpressed.

There was nothing to do but pull the two garbage bags out of the tote, and wrap them in ANOTHER bag.

So, I tipped the tote over - and was nearly knocked over by the "aroma." The black plastic bags were covered with this white, oozing, puss stuff.


I guess sitting out in 90 degree heat for the last couple of days was just the thing!

I managed to get the bags into the other bag, and set it out by the street (I am sure the neighbors were thrilled. The garbage won't be picked up until Monday, and here it is, only Thursday). In seconds it was swarming with flies again.

I hosed out the tote, and the smell STILL wouldn't go away.

You just can’t get rid of that smell.

So - get this - I clipped some mints that were growing in the yard and tossed them in the tote - my feeble attempt to "freshen" it.

It didn’t work.

Anyway, all this got me thinking.

My first thought was that it is a good thing God has designed things the way he has.

I mean, what if all this rotting, decaying flesh smelled GOOD? I wouldn’t have been nearly as motivated to get it OUT OF HERE. All that oozing, festering disease could have sat around in our kitchen for weeks.

It’s funny too, how I tried to cover the awful smell with a few mint branches. It didn’t work, but it made one thing very clear. Death and decay stinks. The smell of green, growing life is sweet.

But here is the main thing I learned from my little adventure.

You just can't get RID of the smell of death. It is such a foul, terrible, awful stench. You can't cover it up. You want to get as far away from it as you possibly can.

And, I am thinking, sin is like that.

It stinks.

And it draws flies.

Of course, that’s not how we see it most of the time.

We laugh at sin. It's not so serious, we think, a little sin here and there, now and then. We are even silly enough to think it adds "spice" to life! We say things like, "Sinfully delicious!"

How foolish!

That's not sin at all. It is anything but "spicy."

The thing is, God filled the world with the sweet smell of LIFE. That was God’s idea. But then we came along, and we had our OWN ideas. We wanted to do things OUR way. And that’s when sin came into the world.

But, if God’s way is the way to life, then any other way can only lead away from life. And, eventually, it leads to smelly, stinky death.

And that is exactly what sin does.

And it isn’t because God just decided to set up some mean and arbitrary laws to ruin our fun. That’s just the way it is.

God is life. Anything apart from him isn’t. It’s really that simple.

Sin is death.

And, as I discovered, the smell of death is so foul, and you can't cover it up. The only thing to do... well, it isn't even enough to haul it away. The stink will just follow you, no matter how far you go.

Really, the only thing to do is BURN it.

I toyed with the idea of building a huge fire in the middle of the yard, and tossing the rotting meat into the licking flames. That would take care of it! But I wasn’t sure how well a giant bonfire of rotten meat in our backyard would go over with the neighbors either.

But a giant fire was really the only way to get rid of the smell for good.

And then it hit me. That is exactly what God did!

He lifted sin, and its awful stench, from our shoulders and he threw it into the fires of hell.


What a funny thing - to think of hell as a GOOD thing!

But, maybe that’s what it is.

God has taken our sin completely away, he has removed all trace of it. He didn’t just haul off to some distant corner of the universe. He has heaved it into the fires of hell and burned it away forever.

Sin came into the world, with its putrefying death and decay - and then Jesus came into the world - the fullness of life! - and took the smell of sin and death away.

This is the wonderful, amazing thing Jesus did. He took our sins on himself into the fires of hell, to be burned away forever. And then he filled us with HIS life in its place.

He has made us as fresh and clean as a morning in spring.

What an amazing thing that is!


by Paul Dallgas-Frey
September 5, 2002

...and then, after considering all of that, here I am pounding away to Led Zeppelin on the stereo. Go figure!!!

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