We were minutes away from putting a big fat check mark in the “Grandparent Win” column when everything fell apart.
The grandchildren had been with us for a couple of days and everything was wonderful! They’d eaten well, napped on schedule, slept all night long, and we were packing them up to take them home, when I saw it: The Look. That moment of paralyzed panic when a toddler’s eyes widen as his face pales and his stomach rebels. This millisecond pause almost always precedes an explosive stream of vomit. We were not let down.
We quickly removed residue from the carpet, bathed our grandson, brought in a bucket (which he used), packed the car, secured car seats, and fetched car towels (which he used), and we sadly delivered the babies to their parents. Then we returned home.
As we drove back to our house we retraced every minute that he was with us. What did he eat? Where did he play? Was this food or playground borne? Every grandparent has the same thought: please don’t let anything bad happen on my watch; this time, it did. We felt awful. But not as awful as we soon would.
Just a short time after we heard that our grandson was holding down liquids, I would discover that I could not. My body proceeded to use all available avenues to forceably expel this vile virulent visitor, even if it took hours, which it did.
By morning, dehydrated, feverish, and with my entire body hurting, I asked Brian if he would go pick up some ginger ale. That’s all I wanted. He was not feeling completely well either, but he risked it and went.
He drove to the closest convenience store and walked up and down the soda aisle. No Canada Dry. No Vernors. No Seagrams. Could it be there was no ginger ale? Should he risk driving further from home to go to another store? Just as he was about to give up, he spotted the coveted beverage!
The rest of the day as Brian fought off nausea, fever, and body aches, he took care of me. But I felt like we were living in a house of germs. The bed I’d slept in must be changed. The blankets must be washed. And the toilets must be cleaned. Being “the last man standing,” even though on shaky legs, Brian got to work.
It was a long day for both of us, but by the next day, we both woke up feeling better, until I walked into the living room and it hit me like a ton of bricks: the smell of vomit. Ugh. It had permeated the carpet.
Over the next day and a half, I tried everything! Febreeze? Nope. Woolite carpet shampoo? Nope, not even on the third try. I sprayed the padding with Lysol. Nope. So, I searched Google and learned baking soda is key. A lot of baking soda. So, I layered a half inch of soda on the carpet, wiggled it in with a brush, let it sit for 24 hours, and then vacuumed.
Five days after the initial event, the smell was gone, the house was clean, and we started to feel hungry. Could we have avoided all of this if we had been a little more vigilant about where our grandson played and what he ate; or a little more diligent with hand sanitizer. Could one well-timed pump have eliminated this dreaded germ?
We don’t know whether our grandson picked up this bug hiding in something tasty or on the playground, but if we’d seen it, we would have avoided it. Interestingly enough, sin works the same way, though it is usually not hiding, it merely disguises itself as something tasty or fun, and we always have the choice to avoid it. If we don’t, it quickly spreads like wildfire, devastating, destroying, deceiving, and leaving a hideous stench in its wake.
One little pump of sanitizer and our virus would have been rendered impotent. One little change of direction, or thought, and sin is rendered impotent. The choice to avoid sin is pivotal, because once you indulge it, you cannot control it. It will infect everyone you love to one degree or another until it runs its course.
We know that if we want to avoid viruses we must keep our hands, food, and toys clean. To avoid sin, we must keep our minds, hearts, and surroundings clean.
We keep our minds clean by thinking on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy; and by putting those things into practice (Philippians 4:8-9).
We keep our hearts clean by placing our hope in Jesus (1 John 3:1-3); by trusting in him for our salvation, and choosing love as the motivation for the way we live (1 John 2:3-11).
We keep our surroundings clean by choosing to live in the world, yet refusing to become like it (John 17:11-15).
When we are tempted, we have a choice: say no and walk away, or allow our desire to have its way. However, once desire is indulged, it conceives and give birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown, gives birth to death (James 1:14-15). Like a virus, sin multiplies and takes over.
From what sin do you need to turn today, so that the clean up can begin? Are you in the midst of cleaning up the consequences of sin and beginning to wonder if you’ll ever get the smell out? God promises that when we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We cannot clean ourselves up enough to remove all the stink, but when God cleans up, he cleans completely.
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