Saturday, August 13, 2005

It lived under the sink...

I have been taking a course called Cleansing Stream with the local church that I attend here in Korea, and one of the books I had to read was entitled "Ridding Your Home of Spiritual Darkness" (Chuck D. Pierce & Rebecca Wagner Sytesma). The book covers a variety of objects including how the spiritual laws work and rule in a home. I was profoundly impacted, again, by how simple the concept of spiritual darkness is: sin = stronghold = years, even generations, of negatively affected people. Applying the Biblical truths to an unwelcome situation at home (confessing, repenting for, and renouncing the sin) is likewise a simple and efficient solution to what sometimes poses as a very complex problem.

A good friend of mine had visited my apartment a day before and mentioned that the place had a "funny smell". I had noticed said "smell" since before my habitation here, when the place was owned by another teacher friend of mine. Unsure of what it was, I lit a few sticks of incense to mask the smell and my friend and I laughed it off.

After finishing "Ridding Your Home...", in a spontaneous fit of housekeeping, I decided to take out my garbage - a habit that has become more and more frequent since the hot, humid, muggy weather of July and August hit Pyongchon. A few of us in who share the same building have had problems with fruitflies but, in my case, not only the adult fruit flies but also their colonies of disgusing, fruit fly larvae crawling all over my garbage bags prior to take out. Although I had increased garbage removal duty to three times a week and had copiously cleaned and disinfected the cupboard area under my sink, the garbage was always well-occupied with maggots.

Nauseated and frustrated, I began yet another cleaning bout and this time made sure that I scrubbed the area where the cupboard meets the floor. During vigorous scrubbing, the false-front of the cupboard came loose and fell down, revealing...goodness knows how many years of THE MOST FOUL KITCHEN DETRITUS I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED. The only explanation for (some of) it was that someone at sometime (circa 1890) dropped a pot of something on the floor. It may, at one time, have been eatable (perhaps circa 1890), but had since turned into a putrid mass of swill. I gasped. I gagged. I actually uttered the words, "I did not want to be exposed to this information."

And then God spoke. I realized that the whole situation - my friend noticing a smell in the apartment (one that I had become used to by climatizing myself), the reoccurring (and very tenatious) fruit flies and their spawn, the never-ending cycle of cleansing and recleansing (to no avail), and the disgusting (but necessary) revelation - was a mirror of what I had just read about the spiritual forces of the enemy. Someone, at sometime, made a mistake. Through years of omission, ignorance, and laziness, nothing had been done to right the wrong. Now the misconduct had bred creatures which, having found a snug home under the counter, were not deterred by my superficial cleaning because they could so easily regroup and repopulate. The root of the problem was not the smell, nor the maggots, nor the garbage, but the spilled "something" UNDER the counter which was the source of all these manifestations. A spill that I was not at fault for, yet I had the responsibility and authority to take care of.

I snapped on a pair of gloves, sprayed half a bottle of bleach-based kitchen cleaner into the crevice, waited a few minutes, and wiped the past away. I am happy to report that my apartment now smells quite delightful.


robtegelberg said...

wicked metaphore. Oneday in the future you will be talking to a group of kids bout god and hes going to bring that thought back to you to bless them too. Keep up the good work Warrior Dancer.

Andrea said...

Kids? I think she just DID use this metaphor on a bunch of post-college aged slash adult readers.

You rock Sarah.

You have an incredible way of turning crappy circumstances into learning situations.

A.J. said...

Proud of you babe. That will preach and just has. I had a similar startling revelation while trying to bring a pair of steal scissors through US airport security. Of course I didn't realize the nasty sharp objects were in my hand luggage and the man asked me "Don't you know what's in your baggage". “Apparently not!” I replied. Needless to say they kept the scissors and after a harmless interrogation (just kidding) they let me go but I was traveling down to Texas and the thought that followed me? What's in your baggage?
Love the analogy babe…. Well done.

andrew said...

"A spill that I was not at fault for, yet I had the responsibility and authority to take care of."

Totally dig this line, no matter the implications for my own life. The past year-and-a-bit of existence has been an object lesson in the same.

Rarely easy, but hey, you can breathe afterwards, right?

Daniel D. said...

I got to say, I am impressed that I made your links page. I am a new man!

robtegelberg said...

sarah hunter!!! wow havent seen you in forever. How have you been. Man we gotta do another barbeque or something. I havent seen you or matt in 2 weeks. We should all hit up a jazz bar in haewa

Andrea said...

Come on girl...I know you've got more to say!!