What Do You Smell Like? Are you communicating the fragrance of Christ?
By Debra Torres On our way to the mechanic awhile back, my son asked me why my daughter smells like she does.
Thinking we had an odor problem, I have to admit, I started to panic just a bit.
He calmed me down, however, saying, “I mean, it’s a good smell, it’s…simple.”
Simple is good, I thought, relieved that his sensitive nose wasn’t picking up something that I had missed. This is the boy who, at the age of three, sent his babysitter running for the breath mints after he offered some comments that were better left unsaid.
“It’s a pleasant smell,” he informed me, “all girls have it.”
Interesting, I thought; I never knew girls had a “smell.”
I have noticed that different households do carry various scents. And I’m not talking particularly about bad smells here.
One of my children receives hand-me-down clothes from a friend and, nine times out of ten, when we go through the bag of wonderful, money-saving jeans, shorts and shirts, he’ll take a deep smell from one of the clean shirts and say with delight – “And---it still smells like him!”
I remember a close call, long ago, when the boys were little. I took them across the street to a neighbor’s house to borrow some aluminum foil.
The odor of fried food was strong in the air and my neighbor had barely shut the door when one of my boys blurted out, “Mama, her house smells just like Wal-Mart!”
Now, I’m not sure exactly what that meant, but I didn’t think it was good – and I’m glad he waited until the door was shut to share that one.
My grandmother has been gone for over 10 years, but I still remember her soft, powdery scent. Simple, my son would say. Every now and then, I’ll catch the same smell on someone else’s grandma and I’ll find myself sidling up to her just to inhale.
It is interesting to think of the power of smell and the memories that go along with certain scents.
And for me, most of these “smell” memories come from my childhood.
My dad, he smelled like Old Spice; my mom, a combination of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion and Chap Stick; and my brother, being a record-breaking swimmer, he smelled like chlorine for most of his high-school years. All these smells are comfort smells to me – safe smells (well, maybe not the chlorine!).
We all have certain “smells” that go along with who we are; I guess they are a mixture of what we put on and what we do. And it seems that, in my experience, the children are more likely to pick up our scents and link a memory to them.
While we can’t always smell wonderful all the time, we can help what our sense of being, our “fragrance” communicates to others.
Does your “smell” communicate a good memory or a bad one? Remember - the children are sniffing!
And I’ll bet you didn’t think I could find a scripture for this topic – but I did! Actually, it is a very weighty Bible verse, one that makes me think deeply about my role as a believer and whether I am communicating the life of Christ effectively to the people that surround me.
I found it in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” (New American Standard Bible)
Wow, that’s something to think about.
As Christians, our beings, our “fragrance” matters and God can use this to lead others closer to Him.
My daughter surprised me awhile ago with her own “smellin’” observation. We were going grocery shopping on a snowy day and she was putting on her brother’s old mittens.
“That’s why I don’t like these gloves,” she announced, “they have a ‘boy’ smell.” She crinkled her nose and shoved one towards me. I took a sniff and a pungent mixture of sweat and leather met my nose.