Saturday, January 7, 2017

Scent-imental Journey

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 7: Today, I am grateful for the "smell of mopped" and the power of scent. 

When Walker was little, he walked into the house after school one day and announced, "I love the smell of mopped." His observation went straight to this mother's heart and I melted on the spot. He is the one who notices little things.  

I am a little weird about my floors. We take off our shoes at the door (I once saw an article about just how many germs we drag in on the soles of our feet). We live in our bare feet or socks once inside. Before you think I am a neat freak, trust me when I tell you there is dust coating protecting some items in our house and my vacuuming is not a daily chore. But, I don't mind mopping because it is makes such a significant, tangible difference in the cleanliness of my house. You can see it and smell the clean!

My eyes are not as sharp as they used to be, but my nose is great! I crave being surrounded by scents I find pleasant. When Randy and I were in Nashville, Indiana last summer I found some wax melts that are lavender and lemongrass. The scent is fresh and heavenly. Bath and Body had a fragrance called "Tuscan Herb", but like all of my favorites, it is discontinued. Scentsy had "Echo", "Flower Shop" and "Twilight"... all discontinued favorites, too. Scents I buy must be fresh, clean and it can't make my Randy sneeze... or give him a headache. 

The smells that we associate with "clean" and "home" are deeply etched in our memories.
Occasionally, a friend will arrive at the house and say, "your house always smells so good."  For me, it is the highest of compliments. I want my home to feel welcoming and I do believe the fragrance is a significant part of the welcome.  

Working in a Jr. High, I am very aware of smells. Some are pleasant... and others do not fall into the pleasant category. I believe in deodorant and think it is never to early to teach our children good hygiene. 460 bodies moving through hallways that are not air conditioned can be quite fragrant in the early fall and spring. 

Even winter days, when the boiler is pumping heat and giving her all to keep us warm, some classrooms are pretty toasty. Deodorant can make a major difference. Certain smells seem to remain, even after the students have emptied out for the day. I love my junior highers... but it is easier to love them  when they smell good. 

I started writing this post and went to grab a scripture I had in mind. In doing so, I encountered my "verse of the day". It was a definite "God wink". Here is serendipitous verse that just popped up:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -Ephesians 5:1-2

I laughed out loud and said, "Really? Thank you, Lord." It is not the verse I went for, but it was chosen well. What were the odds of that verse just popping up my verse of the day? Well, there are 31,102 verses in the Bible. So there was a 1:31,102 chance this scripture would be my verse of the day. Coincidence? If you think so, I won't argue, but I think there was a bigger hand than mine directing the path. 

That made me curious about the frequency of the words: fragrance, fragrant and aroma. 

"Fragrance" occurs 9 times, 5 of them are in the Song of Solomon, so you can imagine the context. (insert blush) That means only 4 times was it in the context I was looking to represent. 4 out of 31,102 passages.

"Fragrant" occurs 16 times, with 3 passages in the Song of Solomon (more blushing). 

"Aroma" occurs 45 times, but 44/45 it is in reference to offerings with "a pleasing aroma to the Lord" The only other time "aroma" is used is in 2 Corinthians 2:15. 

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. -2 Corinthians 2:15

We are the aroma of Christ. Are we a good smelling or offensive? Do we attract or repel? 

Remember the off beat book, "everyone Poops". It is equally true to say, "Everyone Smells". Science has proven that we all give off pheromones that render a response from other humans and animals. We all give off some kind of aroma. our actions combined with our scent evoke good or negative feelings.  

There are times we "stink"... not for our words, but because of our actions. Actions do speak louder than words at times. And there are times when kind and loving actions can be associated with scents, dictating how a smell makes us feel. 

One example, for me, is the smell of Indian food cooking. The blend of the spices, somewhat unique to the culture, fills me with the warmth of a memory. I can almost smell it as I write. 

My dear friend Susan's parents were from India. He father was a social worker and her mother a dietitian. There was never a time in their home when we were not welcomed with the offering of food and their time. They were generous with both. Annie loved to feed us and T.K. enjoyed having Susan and Sally's friends visit. They were the aroma of Christ in all they said and did.Today, when I smell Indian food, I am whisked back to my childhood and the time spent in their home. The affection is soul deep. The sentimental feeling is triggered by the scent memory. I guess I could say scentimental, right?

Scent can take us on a sentimental journey or welcome us home. We are reminded to make all that we say and do a fragrant offering to the Lord. I want to work at walking in love, until I get it right. 

"Lord, create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit in me. I don't want to stink." -amen

Today, I am grateful for the "smell of mopped" and the power of scent.

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