This afternoon, I got the opportunity to do something that not many people get the chance to do.
I smelt wild otter poo!
Yes, you read that correctly!!!! When you think about it, what else would a Baptist Minister do when he is at the Retreat Association Conference?
Looking back, the moment was quite surreal. Our workshop leader said that we didn’t have to smell it if we didn’t want to but, if we would like to give it a go, we were welcome to have a sniff.
I was quite glad that the pot of otter waste began it’s journey on the other side of the room to me because, I could gauge how revolting this experience was going to be by the expressions on the faces of the other participants. Most looked quizzical as they passed the pot from person to person. As it headed in my direction I found it impossible to gauge what I would smell once it arrived in my hands (still in the pot!!).
After a short while, the pot of excrement arrived in my hand. I looked in. I won’t describe the detail of it in case you are of a nervous disposition. Should I sniff or, shouldn’t I sniff? That was the question. In my own mind I imagined what it would smell like based on what I could see.
I lifted the pot toward my nose and took a gentle sniff. I then became a bit braver, I took a larger sniff. I will not describe the odour of otter to you but, I will say, it was not what I was expecting.
I have been thinking about some verses from the Bible when Jesus says;
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
(Luke 6 vs. 37 – 38 The Message)
These words really challenged me. It’s easy to look at people and make judgements based on what we think we know. We look at an individual and make assumptions based on what we see and what we interpret. In truth, however, we don’t know.
Sometimes, we have to suspend our own judgement and have the courage to step beyond our boundaries. Who knows, we may be in for a little surprise!