Phil heaved his legs up the last of the stairs and wondered what foolish notion had started him on the climb. One thousand steps. It was a lot for any man, and he was more of a man than most. That was why he decided to tackle the epic climb up the mountain in the first place. He needed to lose some of his weight—a lot of weight, truth be told—but now he wondered if he had indeed aimed for something beyond sanity.
“Should have started with one hundred steps,” he told himself between gasps. He felt as though his heart would bounce right out of his chest, it drummed so hard.
He briefly checked his watch before taking a swig from his water bottle. It had taken him far longer than planned. He had needed to stop frequently to catch his breath and wait for his racing heart to calm a little—for the dizziness to abate.
“Gonna be late,” he shook his head and hurried for his car. He was due to teach a Religious Instruction class in ten minutes. He had hoped to go home and shower first, but now that was out of the question.
Still huffing, Phil pulled the car door open and wedged himself into the driver’s seat. He glanced quickly about, then lifted one arm and stuck his nose towards his armpit. He grimaced. He was wet with sweat and it did not smell pleasant.
“What am I gonna do?”
He picked up a small towel he had brought and dried his damp face and neck. Then he remembered a discarded T-shirt he had left in the back weeks earlier. It wouldn’t be clean, but it would be cleaner than the one he now wore—and dry. He wriggled and puffed his way out of one shirt and into the other, slightly wrinkled one. In the glove box he located a travel-sized bottle of cologne and dabbed a little everywhere he thought would help.
With a deep sigh he started the engine. He could do no more except pray. “Lord, let my odour not be a distraction to the children.” It was bad enough that his large frame had become a laughing point; he did not need stinky to be added to the mix.
At the school, he made his way quickly to the class he would teach. He glanced at his watch, and let out a breath of relief. He’d just made it in time. He sang with the children and told them a story from the Bible, all the while praying in his heart his words would be seeds which would grow and produce fruit in their lives.
The class finished and one precious little boy came up to him and gave him a hug. It was an open-hearted gesture which touched Phil.
“You smell like my Dad,” the boy said innocently.
Phil felt embarrassed. He knew he did not smell good. But, at the same time, a lump grew in his throat. A thought had struck him. If only someone would one day say, “You smell like my Father in Heaven.”
He swallowed hard. Yes, that would be priceless. “Lord, I want to be the aroma of Christ in these children’s lives.”
Oddly, one thousand steps did not seem so insane anymore.
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