Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That Odious Odor!

Yesterday I had some people come to clean our carpets. In some areas of the house, there is a strong odor -- what I believe is a pet odor left behind by the pets of the previous owners. In one particular area, it's so strong that I don't even like to go into that room. The carpet cleaning company said they guaranteed their work and wouldn't bother cleaning the carpets if they didn't think they could fix the problem -- so I thought I should give them a try before entertaining the expensive notion of replacing the carpet altogether!

So this morning after the carpets were dry I went down to the "problem room" to see if there had been any improvement. And to my frustration I found that the odor was still there, lingering in the room just as before. It irritated me. . . My line of thought began to work something like this. .. "They said they wouldn't clean the carpet if they didn't think it was worth it, if they thought they couldn't get rid of the smell. But it still stinks! What a minute. . . they did say that if it didn't come up the first time they'd come back and clean it again, but I'm not sure they're going to be able to do anything about it even with a second time around. The guy who was out here yesterday didn't even notice the smell. I think he must've had an olfactory problem because as he cleaned it was wafting through the whole house!!. . Now I'm going to have to call them, ask them to come back and then if it doesn't work, what then? I guess we'll have to replace the carpets altogether, and I'll have to ask for a refund because the money that we paid to have it done wasn't to make them look nice -- it was to get the smell out and if that didn't work it was a waste. And if they won't give us our money back, I'll have to complain, and if nothing happens, we'll have lost perfectly good money that could've been used to help pay for the new carpet that wouldn't smell!"

Whew! Yes, my mind went from 0 to 60 mph in no time flat. And as all these thoughts were going through my mind, I was feeling frustrated and distracted. I was feeling like I'd lost valuable time and money in getting my house into the condition it needs to be in order to feel like home -- the kind of home I could feel good inviting people into.

But then I had to stop myself. I realized how foolish I was being. I thought of a city in Egypt that I heard about while at Urbana. It's literally called "Garbage City." The people who live there are the garbage collectors of Cairo. They go into the city collect all of the trash and bring it back to their community where they recycle what they can and pitch what they can't into an area right where they live. I've never been there, but supposedly the smell is overwhelming. The people's homes are built right over a huge garbage dump. And this is where they live, where children play, where they spend all of their time. And all of a sudden, it put things into perspective for me. It was silly to be putting so much negative mental energy into this whole carpet thing in light of what other people are living with every day. Now, I'm not saying that means I'll just let the carpet thing go -- because the company is responsible for their work. But mentally, yes, I'm letting it go so that it doesn't consume my thoughts or rob me of my peace or keep me from being productive today.

After this whole realization, I happened to read this interesting paraphrase of Matthew 25 written by Rich Stearns, the president of World Vision. It says:

For I was hungry, while you had all you need. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison and you said I was getting what I deserved.

If that isn't convicting, I don't know what is! I pray today that I would learn to take those words to heart and to not allow myself to become consumed by the minor things that seek to bring me down, but rather remember all that I do have to be thankful for and how much I have to share. As my favorite author C.S. Lewis so aptly points out in his book, The Screwtape Letters, often the little things that distract our minds which we think are so innocent, merely our own thoughts, are the subtle ways that the Enemy works to keep our focus off of God.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lindsay! I just wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying reading your blog this past week. Very inspiring stuff! Also, here's a recipe for removing pet odors... It got an awful cat smell off a used couch I got for my office.

    1. Mix 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar and spray over the area until it is damp
    2. Blot dry
    3. Sprinkle the area with baking soda
    4. Mix 3/4 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1 tsp. liquid dish soap, and spray over the area
    5. Use a brush to work the mixture into the carpet
    6. Vacuum the area when dry

    Hope this helps!