After receiving a breathalyzer test from the police officer who suspected me for driving while under the influence of alcohol, and after receiving grace from him for exceeding the speed limit, I drove home slowly and thoughtfully. Gabrielle was sweetly quiet in the back seat as I reached back to hold her hand. Comforting each other in our silence, I squeezed her hand as if I could pump my deep love for her into her heart by doing so.
A simple ride home from a friend’s house became an unplanned bonding experience for us filled with life lessons.
As we pulled into our driveway, I told her how proud I was of her and how well she handled a very stressful and frightening situation. She was filled with grace and truth. She spoke the truth softly but confidently to the police officer. She showed gentle grace to the police officer…and to me. I knew the events of that ride home made an impression on her heart, and I am so grateful for God’s faithfulness in truth, grace and mercy.
We told the story to Jim and Joshua in the comfort of our family room. At this point, Gabrielle and I could begin exhaling and chuckling at the now-humorous irony of me being given a breathalyzer test.
Knowing my siblings would get a good laugh at the reality of me getting pulled over and given a breathalyzer test, I texted them as a group about the incident. Within a few seconds, my brother and my sister-in-law who live in Texas texted me back. They received the text on their own phones in separate rooms of their house. Without discussing it, they both had the same immediate, logical, belly-laughing response to me:
“Your Purell. The officer smelled your Purell. That’s why you smelled like alcohol!”
My jaw dropped. Oh my stars. They were right!
The police officer was right. He did smell alcohol! It was my Purell Hand Sanitizer!!! I had been quietly and respectfully indignant that he thought for sure he smelled alcohol on me. Here, he was right! I smelled like alcohol…Purell!
I started to laugh so hard I could barely speak or breathe. Between bouts of laughter I managed to read the texts to Jim and the kids. They were stunned and humored. It hadn’t occurred to any us! Of course, it was the Purell! We enjoyed a great laugh together.
You see, I have a very vibrant relationship with Purell.
I have a reputation (of which I am very proud) of being the mom who Purells everyone’s hands frequently before, during and after sports games. Every time we get in the car, we all Purell. We even have a Purell dispenser hanging in our laundry room next to the door that leads out to our garage. That door is our main thoroughfare in and out of our house, and everyone is required to Purell! (My dear friend Lucille gave Jim the idea to give this to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and it is seriously one of my favorite gifts I have ever received!)
Is that just not the best home decor accessory you have ever seen?
Listen, it is very godly and scriptural to Purell! Look!
I also have a vibrant relationship with Clorox Wipes. I am the self-proclaimed Founder and President of the Clorox Wipe Ministry at my kids’ school.
Story for another day…
The officer was wrong: I had not been drinking. I don’t drink.
The officer was right: He did smell alcohol. It was the Purell Gabrielle and I had just used after getting into the car.
Oh yes, I am going to bake cookies and bring them to the officer and tell him he doesn’t have a distorted sense of smell. He smelled Purell. That was the “scent” he kept referring to before, during and after the breathalyzer test he administered to me!
(I think it’s funny. I don’t want to smell like Purell!)
Lesson learned. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Don’t judge someone by their perceived scent!
Something or someone may appear one way (or smell one way), but in reality the truth is very different than you think…or smell.
We must invest ourselves in knowing the truth. The Truth.
We must spend ourselves on loving others, even when they seem to stink.
And sometimes when we stink the most is when we are being cleansed the deepest!
Thank You, Lord, for those who stand by us courageously in grace, unwaveringly in truth, who give us room to grow and who recognize the cleansing agent and its purpose.
Now if you’ll excuse me please…I must go Purell my hands, Clorox Wipe the kitchen counter and bake some cookies for the nice, responsible police officer who administered a breathalyzer test to this Purell-infused citizen!