After my classroom was moved to the second floor of the front of the school building—right along the main street of town, a major artery for heavy truck traffic—I developed puzzling symptoms that came and went. Fatigue. Congestion. Watery eyes. Dry throat. Itchy, red spots on my skin. Mild numbness in my left arm. Difficulty concentrating. Occasional dizziness. Feeling as though I had a mild case of the flu.
Since no one else at school complained about the symptoms I was experiencing, I blamed them on getting older. By the end of that school year, though, I felt just awful. I attributed it to burnout and determined to spend the summer regaining my health. I went on a three-day, blood-purifying juice fast. I bought a water purifier for drinking water and a filter for the water system. I began to feel better. I had energy. I slept well. I could think again. All those baffling symptoms disappeared.
Then August came. The difference in my health within a week after I returned to school was abrupt and left no room for doubt. I suspected the black, soot-like dust that blanketed everything in my classroom—residue from the exhausts of trucks with diesel engines that changed gears right in front of the windows of my classroom. I’d been breathing that stuff for seven hours a day, five days a week, for three years. The administration and I got busy. We sealed up every place where we suspected exhaust fumes could get in. A bigger, more efficient air purifier was purchased to complement the smaller one I’d been using. I replaced the air filter in the small air purifier, which was caked with soot. My symptoms abated.
Purity is hard to come by these days. Despite controls that limit the pollutants and environmental toxins that are byproducts of progress, the air we breathe and the water we drink are not as pure as they were in pre-industry times. That’s why bottled water and air and water purifiers have become so popular.
Spiritual purity is hard to come by, too. Just living in this sin-polluted world leaves a residue of sin-soot on us all. How do we attain and maintain the spiritual purity God requires?
By using the filter of God’s Word. We attain spiritual purity, the removal of all the sin dirt we’ve accumulated over the years, by asking Jesus, the Son of God, to be our Savior and accepting His death on Calvary’s cross for what it was: punishment for our sins: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
We maintain spiritual purity by reading, meditating on and obeying God’s Word, which brings revival, wisdom, joy and enlightenment (Psalm 19:7-8).
In an unstable, imperfect, sin-polluted world, God’s Word is the only filter that works.
Father, help me to recognize when sin is polluting and poisoning my soul. Help me to deal with it before its debilitating effects ruin my life. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 19:7-10
NOTE: This occurred several years ago. I've since resigned from teaching to write full time.