Life with Jesus / The Duplex

T-Shirt Series #1: Fungus Amongus

{My younger sister went to Thailand to work at an orphanage this summer. You can read about her adventures here. She apparently found a t-shirt salesman who made t-shirts in English. Some of them are hilarious; some make no sense at all. She brought me 4 amazing little gems and I will blog about each of them in this series.}

This week’s t-shirt is “Fungus Amongus,” which is great because I love things that rhyme and fungus. This shirt holds special meaning to me because I said, “Fungus Amongus” (and “Touch Actin’ Tinactin”) at least a million times when a girl in my high school youth group came down with a foot fungus. I realy don’t think there’s a more hilarious response to someone telling you that they have athelete’s foot. That’s why I could never work at a podiatrist’s office. “Oh, the doctor prescribed you Tinactin? Well, you know what they say. There’s a fungus amongus.”

Alex and I have a mold problem. No, our living room walls aren’t black from the deadly black mold (yet). I’m talking about a mold problem, in general. Alex used to only drink out of one color-changing Slurpee mug and in between his orange juice and soda, he would just rinse it out with water. One day, I snuck it out from under his watchful eye to wash it and when I put my sponge in, something that looked alot like cake batter came out. I threw up (in the Slurpee mug), rinsed it out with water, and put it right back where it had been. I’ll let you be the judge of how much of that last statement is true.

I used to tease him about this until a month ago when I was drinking out of my water-bottle at work and I happened to look at the bottom. Yep, mold.  More than once, we have been eating something, only to get halfway through and see that lovely, green-gray peachfuzz growing on our cheese, tortillas, strawberries. You name it, we’ve molded it.

Heck, just last week, Alex’s homemade salsa went to hell in a handbasket in about 4 days, resulting in us opening it to find white fuzz and something solid that you could poke with a fork. THAT WAS FUN.

I don’t know. Maybe we’re just not very observant until the mold is staring us in the face (or in our taste buds). Last weekend, our duplex made sure that we got a good, solid look.

We’ve had a few plumbing problems with stopped up sinks and/or sinks draining slowly because there’s a six-year-old toothpaste cap stuck in the drain. Last Thursday, the right half of our kitchen sink (the non-disposal side) got stopped up and wasn’t draining. We put Drano in it and as usual, it didn’t help one little bit. We just had a toxic mess of leftover food particles, water, and Drano sitting in our sink. I did NOT want to call our little handyman service because they give you a 4 hour window and for some reason, using 4 hours of my vacation time to sit and wait for someone to come unclog my sink just doesn’t sound appealing. So I said, “Alex, we’re gonna fix this sink ourselves. I think you can do it.” Which he assured me that he could.

So we secured all of our sink-fixing accoutrements (ooh, French!) and set to work. Alex turned off the water and unscrewed the L-shaped pipe. Bingo. Couldn’t see light through it. The first thing he tried was banging the pipe in the sink to see what would fall out. This is what fell out:

If you can’t tell what it is, join the club because we stared at it for a good 3 minutes in horror. All I can tell you is that it was dark green/black and when Alex poked it, IT JIGGLED. At which point, I was a good assistant and ran out of the kitchen dry heaving in tears. Ya see? The mold struck again.

 So, did that fix the problem? No. It did not. The L-shaped pipe was better but now we examined the pipe that is connected to the L-shaped pipe. Alex got out our little drain snake and shoved it down the sink, while I watched in gross fascination as at least a pound of this came out of the sink (and fell into a clear bowl, btw. I did not let this stuff touch my rug):

My question at the end of this experience was: How can one little sink hold so much DISGUSTING? Oh gosh, we laughed pretty hard and now, you could wash an elephant down that sink and it wouldn’t get stuck.

Here’s the thing about mold- you can’t see it when it first starts. It’s not like you’re eating a perfectly good strawberry and then BAM! it has suddenly acquired a fuzzy beanie in your hand. It sneaks up on you, real quiet like.  If you aren’t looking for it, then it’s quite possible that you could be eating chips and salsa and realize that no, you did not put a scoop of jello on your chip. You really have to stay on top of mold or it will completely take over. 

Just like sin! Isn’t that amazing?

(Did you like that segue? Ooh! More French!)

Sin has this sneaky way of creeping up on you. It starts with something really small and then it snowballs. Think about it- if you let one thing make you bitter at work, that bitterness seeps through everything making it near impossible to do a job that you once enjoyed. Or if you follow the rabbit hole of selfishness. All it takes is a little entitlement (I deserve this…)  to cause a whole lot of problems because once you decide to put yourself first in one thing, then it becomes easier to put yourself first in much bigger things. Thus, “I want to go see this movie, I don’t care what you think” becomes “I’m going to quit my job and become a professional soliataire player. I don’t care if you have to work six jobs to support us.” Obviously, usually, along the way, we realize that this disgusting mold has crept into our lives and we can repent and ask for forgiveness, Jesus bangs out our sink, cries about what’s in there, and we’re back in business.

Ephesians 4 has some good things to say about what the life of someone who follows Jesus should look like. Verse 25-27 say:

 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

(PS- Do you see that “speak truthfully” to your neighbor thing? That goes back to this blog here.)

I like the word “foothold” because it gives me a picture of Satan climbing up the castle walls surrounding my heart. Ideally, the walls would be smooth like marble, so that no temptation could even climb up there. But, more often than not, I’m watching TV instead of tending to my walls and cracks appear, giving Satan a foothold with which to invade my heart and spread his nastiness.  One foothold gives him room to tempt me to be selfish with my time, prideful about the work that I do, and angry at my husband for using the dryer as his own personal dresser. One little crack allows all of that.

In the original Greek, the word is τόπος (topos) which means place. So another way you could look at it is that you let Satan become a houseguest. He starts out in the garage, moves into the guest closet, laundry room, dining room, until he eventually is sharing the space between you and your husband. And let me tell you… Satan makes for a strange bedfellow.

I think so often we rationalize our sin by saying how small it is. Well, it’s only a white lie. My personal favorite rationalization is that it’s only one little piece of gossip. But those little sins (which are only little in human eyes), hurt our relationship with God, just as much as the large ones. If the little sins go unchecked, un-repented of, unforgiven, then they will inevitably grow into bigger things. Recognizing these smaller sins is very difficult

Think about the phrase, “If you give that circus clown that keeps knocking on your back door an inch, he’ll take a mile.” It’s really true. You are well aware that there are people that will take advantage of you as long as you let them. Like that time I gave a prostitute a ride to a drug deal and then she asked me for money for a hotel room on the way back. OOPS. Did I type that outloud? IGNORE IT, MOM.

Sin and Satan work much the same way as that nasty old circus clown. It’s best to ask Jesus to clean your moldy drains, fix the cracks in your wall, and put up a “Satan Not Welcome” sign on your front door now and then you keep a watchful eye on the little sins that can spread like wildfire once they take root.

There’s a fungus amongus.

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