I was in the back of the store, checking cartons of eggs to make sure none were broken. There were a couple of other people back there, too, getting their dairy items, when suddenly all of our heads shot up at the same time.
Skunk. All of us were assaulted by the stench of fresh skunk spray, to the point that my eyes (and probably theirs, too) watered. It’s one of those things that you can’t reconcile in the moment. You’re in a grocery store, yet you smell something that you normally only catch on a country breeze. OUTSIDE.
I put the egg carton in my buggy and, like everyone else, started to clear out, fearing that there was an actual skunk that had been trapped in the storage area in the back of the store and was only one swinging door away from walking its aisles. I was relieved when the smell, though still strong, did start to wain toward the front of the store and the produce section. Hurriedly, I got the rest of the items on my list and headed toward the checkout, where the odor started to, again, intensify. I noticed other people joining me in looking around for Pepe le Pew, too, and those with small children kept them close.
I wheeled into the first checkout lane available to me, and the inside of my nose was ON FIRE with the smell. It seemed to be RIGHT THERE. Then my eyes settled on the man in front of me. And his pants, which were wet with spray marks.
Overwhelmed by the smell, I stepped back, then looked at his face and realized he seemed completely oblivious to it. He was much more focused on the task at hand.
I thought to myself, “This man obviously has priorities,” then chuckled to myself as I posted it on Facebook from a safe distance. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the more I realize that most of us are just like him.
We ignore the things in our lives that need to be addressed immediately, the things that eventually rot and destroy and STINK, in favor of the things that make us feel good. And if we continue in this way, eventually we’ll lose what’s most important to us, and find ourselves alone with our own fix, as everyone else pulls away from the stench.
I’m grateful God is in the business of helping us clean up and re-prioritize. It just might be time to put first things first, don’t you think?
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 ESV
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34 ESV
“What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Mark 8:36-37 MSG
“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 NLT