I am always super sensitive about my breath. I try to take care of it, but at times, I’m a little bit off schedule. I really do not know when my breath is really bad.
For me, I only know my breath is bad when the person standing in front of me passes out.
It is rather embarrassing to have bad breath, particularly when you are in the company of very sophisticated people. I have bad breath all the time because of my great delight in eating cheese. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage warns me all the time that eating cheese will create bad breath. I know she is right, but cheese is very delicious.
I was boarding an airplane to travel north when the thought struck me that I had eaten a block of cheese before I got to the airport. I was wondering if my breath smelled bad or not. I tried to test it on myself but it never registered with my nose.
I know I have a nose, but my nose does not know when to smell anything. The only thing my nose does for me is sneeze, particularly when I am not prepared. So, I can’t smell things the way my wife does. She can smell an odor seven days before it is produced!
How she does that I will never know and at my stage in life I am never going to ask her.
According to her, bad breath is always bad, which is why they call it “bad breath.” My contention is, bad is a relative thing. One person smells one way, another person smells the other way and the twain shall never collide. What is bad for one person may not be bad for another person.
I have a habit of nibbling on cheese. At times, my wife thinks that I am just a mouse. Actually, she uses the word “rat,” but that is a different story. I just love cheese. When I come home the first thing I do is go to the refrigerator, get out a block of cheese, slice it, go sit down and enjoy nibbling on that cheese never concerned about the bad breath it might create.
My wife is very conscious of this and always carries with her a packet of breath mints. Whenever she offers me a breath mint, I know that she smells my bad breath. I take a breath mint just to console her, but it really does not make any difference to me.
My contention is, bad breath isn’t always that bad.
Getting back to my plane ride. As I was boarding the plane, I remembered I indulged in my slice of cheese. At first, I was a little worried because on the plane you almost sit on top of one another.
Fortunately, when I got to my row of seats I was the first one and so I was able to sit near the window. One of the things I enjoy in flying is leaning back and resting in the quietness of the atmosphere. However, most of the time I have somebody seated next to me that does not know the meaning of silence.
As I was getting situated in my seat, somebody came and took the seat right next to me. Before they could even sit down and buckle their seatbelt, their mouth started jabbering. If there is anything I do not like it is a mouth that jabbers and jabbers without quitting.
I am quite familiar with the English language, but I am always perplexed at how somebody can talk without stopping or even pausing for a “period.”
Seated next to me was such a person. From the moment he got in, he began talking and for the life of me I could never figure out what he was talking about. He went from one subject to the next subject without even a bridge between the two.
The flight was a 2½-hour flight and I was not sure how in the world I was going to endure such endless chatter all the way. It’s not so much that I mind someone else chattering, it’s the fact that while there chattering they never give me an opportunity to chatter back.
While I was sitting there, an idea came to mind. I don’t always have good ideas, but I think this one was pristine in every sense of the word. I began to think of that slice of cheese I had nibbled before boarding the airplane. If my wife is correct, and she usually is, my breath at this time would be dangerously stinky, to use her phrase.
With a smile on my face, I turned to the chatterbox and just let out very slowly my bad breath in his direction. It must’ve been bad because all of a sudden, he stopped and he could not breathe. Just to make sure it was working, I sent another hot breath in his direction. His eyes crossed and he set back and looked in the other direction. He had nothing more to say.
I do not think Job had this in mind when he wrote, “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4).
God’s breath is not bad, but it is good to the point of giving me his life to live.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.