Opening the door upon coming home from work one day, I immediately smelled the stench as I walked into the apartment. After putting down my belongings, I began sniffing intensely, following the odor arising from the kitchen trash can. I knew then it was time for the trash to be taken out.
Though, in this situation, the stinkiness could be removed, there are numerous stinky experiences where the source cannot be removed. Family struggles. Medical complications. Financial difficulties. Work-related stresses. These are just a few dilemmas that have a lingering “stench” which can affect other areas of a person’s life. While many nasty odors are dealt with through ignoring, covering, or even just accepting them, another efficient way to handle them is changing our own reactions.
Instead of being odor-causers, may we serve as air fresheners to all those around us. As the philosopher Epictetus says, “It’s not what happens [around us], but how [we] react to it that matters.” We cannot always remove or even change the trashy dilemmas occurring around us, but we can freshen it up in our own ways of responding. Like with one single spray of an air freshener, it only takes one single person’s reactions to freshen his or her surroundings.
Merciful God, guide each of us in responding to various situations with a freshening manner, so we may make a positive difference to those around us. In Your name we pray, Amen.