Last night I went to the gym to pound out a mile and a half. There I was, wogging along--that's jogging at roughly the same pace as most people walk--watching The Deadliest Catch, and trying to drown out the complaints of my lazy bones with My Chemical Romance. Overall, it was going rather well.
Someone in the front row did something downright evil. The air itself turned gray and curdled. Flies dropped dead mid-flight. Lights flickered and little tongues of flame spurted from outlets. Those of us in the second row thought seriously about diving headlong off moving treadmills in an effort to escape the noxious fumes. For real.
In that moment I was thankful for nothing. I regretted that I'd never drawn up a will. I mourned that I would not see my niece grow up. And I prayed for God to receive my spirit.
Then it faded.
I had wogged through the valley of the shadow of death and had the memories to prove it. But on this side of the event, I found myself praising God for two things.
First, the design of our olfactory receptors is such that each one sticks to a packet of odor molecules and is then bound for a while. This means that there is a limited quantity of scent we can experience at one time. It's how people live in towns with chicken processing plants. If I'd been forced to endure the folly of another for much longer, I would have tried to claw out my olfactory sensors just to escape. But God, genius that he is, saw how the sense of smell, which he designed for good, might be used for evil. I'm pretty sure gastric issues are a direct result of the fall. So he capped off it's ability by limiting the number of receptors in our noses.
Second, I'm grateful for God's forgiveness. I was thinking some pretty rank thoughts toward a certain gym member. It was a moment when I totally felt kinship with David as he called death and destruction upon his enemies. (If you think I'm being harsh, just remember...you weren't there. And I pray you never will be.) After the fact, I asked that God would forgive me. He did.
All in all, I'm grateful for the sense of smell. Gardenias, roasted red peppers, and cinnamon alone qualify as worthy experiences. And I'm thankful that some day, death, and deadly fumes, will be no more. Until then, I'm thankful for God's provision.