Bad potatoes

A sticky, smelly goo pooled on the floor of the kitchen just underneath the stove.

“Has that been there long?” I asked my husband, somewhat rhetorically. He didn’t think so. We examined the goo, but because we were already running late for church, we ignored it till later.

“Is it getting worse?” I asked, later.

“Only one way to find out,” he said, wiping the goo from the floor.

Hours later, the goo was back. Thus began the search for the source of the goo. While I was in the living room putting our son to sleep, my husband, flashlight in hand, was in the kitchen trying to determine if the goo was oozing from underneath the stove or elsewhere.

Back in the living room with an upturned nose and a grimace on his face, he announced, “The potatoes.”

Ah, the potatoes. In an effort to find a dark place to keep them, off of the floor, out of reach of the toddler and baby, I had forgotten to take into account the warmth of our kitchen over multiple 90-degree days.

I realized that I had been smelling these rotten potatoes for a few days now, but given that not all of the dishes in the kitchen are clean, I thought I was smelling the griddle on which we had recently cooked salmon burgers. Even after the griddle was clean, I couldn’t pinpoint the smell, nor did I try to discover its source.

I offered to clean the mess up.

“It’s really gross,” my husband said. He bagged the potatoes and took them straight to the garbage. (Praise the Lord for the discovery of bad potatoes on garbage night!) I never saw the potatoes, only the residue they left.

The clean-up was gross, but nothing a little Fantastik with Oxy Clean and a Swiffer Wet Jet couldn’t handle.

I was a little annoyed at myself for not investigating the stench earlier. And I thought about how these bad potatoes are like the bad things in our lives. Attitudes, behaviors — sins, the Bible calls them — that we try to hide in the dark parts of our lives, hoping no one will discover them.

But eventually, we start to rot. And we stink, so to speak. And we ooze these hidden parts of our lives until we’re dripping with goo and can no longer hide the rottenness.

Maybe people turn up their noses at us, or hold us at arm’s length so as not to dirty themselves with us. Maybe they avoid us so they don’t have to come into contact with our stench.

And maybe there’s Someone willing to clean us up. To take out the trash and give us a good cleaning. And maybe He wants us to keep looking into the hidden parts of our lives to find more rotten stuff and get rid of it until we can’t find anymore rotten stuff.

Maybe His name is Jesus.

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