Sometimes freak things happen. Sometimes things don’t make sense, but it’s the only thing that makes sense. We have a wood pellet furnace and a 4-ton hopper in our basement. To make a long story short, our latest delivery of pellets began to out-gas a noxious fume. Both the furnace installer and the pellet deliveryman said the fumes shouldn’t be coming from the pellets considering our setup. The installer came and checked for carbon monoxide, and thank the Lord, none was present, but considering the presence of the fumes, the installer said he would install a ventilation fan at the end of the week. In the meantime, we opened windows and doors and stayed in rooms where the air was less foul.
Our older son had been exposed the most and was suffering with what seemed like horrific allergies. We suggested he spend the night in a hotel or with our other son, but he decided to stay in his room as much as possible with the window open. Because I was also affected and redeveloped a bad cough and nearly went to the ER, I stayed in a hotel for three nights, coming home briefly each day to take care of necessary things and to take my daughter and her dog ‘Sally’, out where we could spend some time breathing in fresh air.
I was reminded of how God breathed in man the breath of life at Creation (Genesis 2:7), and how Jesus breathed out the Holy Spirit after His resurrection (John 20:22). I was also reminded of how we are instructed to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26). But walking in the spirit is not some mystical exercise or experience; it is simply living and breathing in a way that is contrary to walking in the flesh. We can either be like God and breathe out love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, or we can be like Satan and breathe out hatred, wrath, strife, envy, murder, immorality, impurity, and the like. We can be either refreshing and life-giving or noxious and life-destroying.
The ventilation fan was installed, and while some fumes linger in the basement and can still be detected outside, the main part of the house is liveable again, and our symptoms are subsiding. It still doesn’t make sense— not only the out-gassing but the strength of the fumes. And while we experienced some suffering, some good has come out of it, too, for which I am grateful.