So, yeah, the title to this post is rather odd, but then so was the experience I had earlier today. After my Post-Liturgical Nap/Pre-Liturgical Nap this afternoon, I was sitting at my desk when I had a strange thought: “Something smells really, really good.” Nothing in North Dorm ever smells really, really good. It is a dorm. It was built in 1976 and, while better than my previous lodgings in Boston, is still a dorm, filled with men (and a few ladies, and they don’t figure into this area of the dorms), some of whom have better habits than others. That is why I was a bit surprised. Usually when some smell brings itself to my attention it is in a, “*sigh* someone needs to clean out the fridge in the common area again…” sort of way. But this… this was different.
It smelled of frying sausages. Sausages, I tell you! Breakfast links! I got up from my desk thinking it was a fluke, perhaps I was having some sort of “meat hallucination” that can happen in these Lenten periods. However, upon opening my door I was greeted with more smells of deliciousness. It was bizarre. There was no one in the common room, nor any evidence of a fry up. Nor anywhere else. And yes, I did go on a hunt for the phantom sausages. Alas, my search was in vain. There was no link to be found.
In the end, we decided that someone (perhaps one of the monks…) was doing it as a form of ascetic discipline, a podvig, if you will. However the truth will never be known. It is a mystery lost to us, the mystery of the phantom sausages.
It is sad that I devoted time and energy to discovering the source of these olfactory temptations, certainly. It only made me realize how much work I have yet to do this Lent, or rather, let God do. If I can be distracted by the smell of something frying, I can’t imagine how distracted I’ll be by the gyro stand near Titan foods in Astoria or the smoke pouring out of the local Burger King. There are certainly times when fasting doesn’t make sense, and there’s nothing I want to do more than order the ribs. And there are plenty of times I have, and probably plenty of times I will in the future. But that’s not the point, the point is to get back up and try again. Instead of chasing after the phantom sausages, we now try chasing after the hem of His garment. And that is a much sweeter and more satisfying search. A search that, in the end, is fruitful and brings a more lasting satisfaction. “Bread of heaven, on thee we feed” is much better than, “sausage inna bun, on thee we feed and then immediately regret.”