The Pork Butt Rode Shotgun

Glued to the weather coverage last week, Hurricane Ian was coming fast and I was in full blown stress-shopping mode. Six trips to Publix in four days and I finally felt prepared. Oh sure, I could always use more snacks especially if this thing was delayed any further, but at the moment we were stocked. I had cold brew coffee, sandwich meat, cans of food I would probably never eat and every bottle/jar in the house was full of water. We were ready – that is until I grabbed the pork butt from the outside fridge to fix my famous carnitas for our last pre-hurricane Ian dinner. 

That pork butt smelled like the devil’s armpit. I had just purchased said butt three days ago. How could it possibly be bad already? There was a brief flicker of a moment where I stared at it wondering if I could still cook it. In my defense, I had been in hurricane prep mode for almost a week so my mind was contemplating going on strike. So there I stood, in my kitchen, wondering what to do with the 8 pounds of spoiled pork.

I can hear you saying  – “Just throw it away, crazy woman.” Here is where you are probably out of touch with the actual crisis scenario playing out in my kitchen. You see, the trash had been picked up for the last time pre-hurricane. There was no one else coming. We were on our own. And the trash can? Well that had been washed (so as not to smell for those that don’t regularly prep for hurricanes) and was now in the garage. Therefore, I couldn’t put a smelly pork butt in the trash can. I consulted the storage vault of my brain for options. My mom had once taught me a trick and I considered using it – freeze the pork for disposal post storm.  But given our thorough hurricane prep, the freezers were full. Yes, both of them. So now what? There was only one thing to do.

We were going on a trip.

The actual butt riding shotgun.

That spoiled pork butt rode shotgun with me back to Publix. There he was, all tied up inside four bags, sitting in the seat beside me. He was going back to where he came from as I rationalized that the trash cans at Publix would likely be pulled one more time before Ian’s arrival. I asked God for forgiveness certain I was breaking an old testament rule. I prayed for the trash people. I apologized to no one in particular. All I knew was that I had to save my family from a rotting pork butt and the odor that would surely overtake the house. Plus I now needed dinner.

I’m happy to report that I disposed of the smelly butt in the outdoor Publix trash can and acquired a beautiful fresh one from the head meat man that became carnitas a few hours later. I will tell you I am a bit ashamed of my actions. I plead hurricane prep insanity. I may need to find a support group. To the folks who pulled that trash can, I apologize and owe you a latte.

May or may not be the actual Publix. I plead the fifth.

My focused efforts to eradicate the rotten butt from our lives came from a dedication to protect and provide for my family. That determination led me to go to great lengths to ensure we had a yummy dinner and an odor free home. So while my methods may raise eyebrows and haunt the trash-pulling employee, the spirit behind it was genuine. Get rid of the bad thing. Take care of the fam. 

How often do we entertain rotten things in our life for too long? Sometimes it may not be that obvious that the thing is bad. It may even seem good at first glance. Sometimes you pull back the wrapper and the smell will knock you off your feet. That’s where discernment comes in. As believers, we must consistently seek God’s guidance regarding things in our lives that may be stinking up the place and if left unaddressed could cause bigger issues. Just because you spent money on the thing and the thing was good at one point, doesn’t mean it’s good now. Even keeping the bad pork around for a day would have caused a horrific scent to seep into our home transforming our peaceful hideout into a den of disgust. Ask God to help you discern what things you may need to remove from your life. Perhaps there is something holding you back, clouding your judgement, or simply not good for you. Once you identify it, put that thing in the trash as quick as possible. Taking action to remove things that could have a negative impact on our lives is important to living a life that is healthy and fruitful…and certainly less stinky.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

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