I’ve always considered myself an intelligent person. Not a brainiac by any means, but someone that exercises good judgment and who thinks through things completely before taking action.
That was until last week!
Last week provided a new perspective on my mental fortitude and judgment.
Here’s what happened.
My friend was making fabric surgical masks. You know, the kind you can put a filter inside to give greater protection from our invisible viral enemy—the Covid-19 pandemic. She made them from fun cotton fabric and gifted me with a blue floral one.
She had neatly tucked a filter into the pocket and reassured me that it would protect me from all that attempted to assault my respiratory system. What I failed to recognize was the filter had been constructed from a vacuum HEPA-filter made from polyurethane.
Okay, you may already be jumping to the conclusion but just hold on…
My husband and I ventured out to our favorite grocery store, a brief trip to a local superstore, and a final stop at the gas station.
We headed home and once there unloaded the car, put away our treasures, and washed our hands. And then it dawned on us. Our masks!
To Microwave or Not Microwave?
We heard we were supposed to clean them after each use. So, after a little internet research and a consult with my microbiologist friend, I tossed them into the microwave, set the temperature to “high,” and the timer for 2 minutes.
I had moved out of the kitchen and down the hall when I noticed an odd smell. I followed it back to the kitchen and to my shock, smoke was billowing out of the microwave. I opened the door and a cloud of white filled the kitchen. (Just as a side note, it is VERY hard to get the smell of burnt fabric out of your hermetically sealed virus protected home.) Our masks sat in the center of the turntable, a singed pile of smoldering fabric. I grabbed the masks, tossed them in the sink, turned on the faucet, made my way back to the microwave, and turned the fan to high. The smoke was still lingering as my husband rounded the corner, “What happened?” he asked. I responded with uncontrollable laughter, “I sterilized the masks!”
He responded, “You microwaved the masks?!” This time his question caused me to pause and I took a better look at the charred remains. And there it was, the answer, right in front of my face: the filters! I had forgotten to take out the filters!
Polyurethane does not hold up well when you microwave it.
So, that’s my story.
Okay, if I’m being completely transparent there is just a little more…
A Humbling Experience
And here is where the story turns from laughter to humble admission.
If we back up to the discussion my husband and I had about cleaning the masks, I failed to share that he had challenged me about my proposed cleaning technique (that was the reason for his questioning after the incident).
He had learned all that was needed to kill the virus was a quick spin in the dryer, a short stent hanging in the sun, or a spritz of disinfectant. But, my science-y friend had given an expert response and I was going to follow it.
Proverbs 16:18 reminds us, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”
In my case, pride came before a microwave fire.
Our microwave was fine. All that was required was a little all-purpose cleaner and eventually, the burnt smell left the house. My friend gave me a second mask, a sweet puppy print.
But the event did remind me that sometimes in life rebounding from our prideful behavior is not easy. We can’t just sanitize our attitudes, air out our selfishness, or isolate our egos. Sometimes we have to humbly admit that what we did was wrong and move on with the wisdom we’ve now gained…the hard way!
In my case, I had to acknowledge my mistake and live with the consequences of my pride—that horrible burnt smell of fabric and polyurethane!
You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Causing Fear? How to Find Hope – 126