This past Christmas, in moving furniture and rearranging the living room so we could put up our tree, I made a rather unpleasant discovery. My rug had a problem.
Now this problem was not immediately evident to me...no, I discovered the problem quite by accident. You see, in order to move everything, I needed to first roll up my large area rug from its out of the way place and temporarily put it into our "computer" room. It would be out of the way until Christmas was over and it could then be put back out. After a few days in the computer room however, I started to notice an unpleasant odor...anyone who has dogs would recognize it. It was that unmistakeable smell of dog urine. At first, I thought my daughter's small dog had com into the room and had an accident, but after investigating I found the odor came from my beloved rug. It didn't just smell a little bad, it was AWFUL! I guess that the dog had not once, but repeatedly used a corner of that rug as her own personal potty! I had never noticed it before!
Now, let me assure you I am not a horrible housekeeper....I'm not in danger of the Clean Sweep Team coming to my door any time soon, (although I would probably welcome them!) This rug was simply in a relatively unused area of my living room and its dark patterned design hid any spots better than you would imagine. While I had caught the dog once trying to use the rug as her own personal spot, I had cleaned it well and felt confident that it was a somewhat isolated incident. Boy was I wrong. My immediate thought after discovering it was "Oh no, have others who have entered my home already noticed this smell? Have I just gotten so used to it that I didn't even notice it was there?" This is not the kind of thing you want to find out.
I knew the rug needed cleaning, but since money is a bit tight, I decided to first try "airing" it out by hanging it over the half wall of my carport. A day or two later, my husband came to tell me that we needed to move the rug - the odor was bothering him. Funny, I didn't seem to smell it now. At any rate, we decided to lay it out in the sun for a few days. Perhaps that would work. Well, I am somewhat forgetful and instead of being in the sun a few days, it stayed in the sun, rain, wind, etc for a couple of weeks. Well, surely now it must smell a little better. Nope, I'm afraid not. Now it's worse. I guess, I'm finally going to have to deal with cleaning this rug. I might even have to get professional help!
Of course, this blog is about more than just a rug, for at the same time all this is happening, I am realizing there is something that "smells" in my own life.
A few years ago, I was hurt by someone....betrayed. I thought I had dealt with it and gone on. After all, I know a lot about forgiving others. I've been deeply hurt before and learned to forgive and move on. Yet somehow, this time it was different. I realized this the day the person who had hurt me re-entered my life. To be quite honest, I'd have been happy if this person had disappeared forever...but God had other plans. There they were....again. The feelings that came rushing over me were no less repulsive than that odor that had been lurking in the rug. They had been there all along, I just had gotten used to them and as long as they weren't stirred, I could ignore them. Of course, I now wonder if those around me "smelled" these bad attitudes all along but simply were too polite to say anything.
I tried "airing" them out by talking to friends...after all, the "spot" wasn't my fault! I hadn't caused the problem, I'd been the one who had been "soiled". Unfortunately, the "airing" didn't make it better...it just exposed my friends to the smell. I tried laying the "problem" out and hoping God would somehow miraculously just "deal" with them and then I could go about my happy little way. That didn't work either. This time, it's going to take ME dealing with the stench. I've got to clean out what is causing the root of the problem...and yes, I might have to get some real help.
I can't help but wonder if it's worth it. I'd love to just "throw the rug" away....but I sense this time it won't be that easy. Not dealing with this could prove to be something that robs me of joy down the road. How do I know this? Well, seems like everytime I turn around, that person is there. They have no idea the effect their presence has on me...but trust me, I do...and I understand why it is so important to forgive.
When unforgiveness is allowed to stay, it puts down a root of bitterness that produces a really "stinky" fruit. That smell will get into almost every area and ruin anything it comes in contact with. Even worse, the vines that grow from the root wrap themselves around you and "bind" you to the one you won't forgive. I know you've heard this as many times as I have...but somehow that smelly rug brought it home again.
How will I go about cleaning this "rug"? To be honest, I'm not sure. Will it be worth the effort? Again, I'm not sure....I can only go on what I know God has told me to do. Somehow, I've got to forgive just as I have been forgiven. Perhaps in a future blog, I can tell you what finally got the "smell" out. Until then, like most people, I've got some cleaning to do.