Staying in Cambodia for a while and the human sense of smell gets tested multiple times a day. There are smells here that I have never smelled before.
When we took a team to Chennai, India for 8 weeks, we invented the 5 second smell game. We would hold our breath for 5 seconds and then take a deep breath in. Further down the road we would do it again and again and every time would be a new smell. Sometimes you would breath in sharply and be oddly surprised at a nice sweet smell, or a well cooked food smell. At other times you would cautiously breath in and almost instantly want to throw up. Trash burning, or cow, or a weird farming smell that shouldn’t be.
This time around I walked into one of the worst smells of my life and God almost sniggered and simply asked – “Where’s the good in that smell?”
It got me thinking.
Every time me and Daniel walk into our room we are regaled with a sour, off smell. But underneath that horrid smell is this weird, almost peaceful smell. And now that I associate it with the room where i sleep, It’s almost comforting.
We ran into a World Race (another missions organisation) team, full of incredible individuals, and two of them sat down and explained how every night, their team does “feedback”. The idea being that the team is close enough to be able to make comments about each other to build the other into better children of God. Offences can be dealt with before explosions, and the group gets involved in encouraging each other upwards and onwards. In the conversation it was remarked that within the ‘feedback’ time, sometimes, what is said, is offensive. But instead of reacting, participants have to simply say “thank you” and go and process it with God.
The idea that as people of truth we need to be inoffensive, but also unoffendable. Because when offended we usually react badly. and, as defender of our souls, if we attempt to defend ourselves, then we take another of God’s jobs away… again.
That all said to say this. What if, everything that went into us, through our eyes and ears and mouth was used by us, to be uplifting, beautiful, enjoyable.
Recently I have started a personal motto/goal by saying:
BUT IF YOU LIKE EVERYTHING, YOU GET TO ENJOY EVERYTHING.
Finding the good, in a bad smell. Not being offended by it. Not being bored by circumstance. But, training ourselves to get everything out of every moment, every food, every music and celebrating everyone else’s preference whilst we enjoy everything.