I made the mistake of parking next to our trash dump. I’d pulled in late and all my regular spaces were taken. The dump spaces stood vacant and for a very good reason. Years of half-rotted trash juice fermented into fully rotted trash juice. The stench fills nose, inches its way to the tear ducts before it reaches down the throat and grasps the gag reflex. Merely squeezing your nose does no good. The brief walk from the car stuck to my shoes. They smelled for days.

Smell holds the strongest memories. We learned this at our last debrief. Be aware that you might be brought to emotional tears during transition based purely on a familiar smell they told us. I don’t really like to be brought to tears without some preparation so this bit of information lodged in my brain. My heart whispered, “this is true.” Each child I’ve associated with the smell of the particular lotion I used around the time of their birth. My second child is pink grapefruit. Every time I smell pink grapefruit I’m transported to a small house with a blue swivel chair and late night feedings. Every time.

It really irks me that when I put on perfume my brain blocks it from my senses within five minutes. Everyone else smells it but me, and I really like my perfume! Sometimes I wonder what my personal odor is to others. And, before you make a funny, I’m talking about those fragrance verses in the Bible! Did that joke I thought so funny poke a tender spot? Does that expression on my face, the one I must wear a lot because a deep groove between my eyebrows says so, what does that say about me? About my worries, cares, concerns? What did my, ahem, loud voice tell my children the other day?

I guess my question is this, am I living out Christ’s love such that I’m turning hearts to notice His fragrance or my not so great one? Ironically, whether I’m reflecting Him or not, I’ll still smell like death to someone. My desire to please people doesn’t like this truth. I don’t want to smell like death…ever! But the death that leads to life is worth the turned heads and the comments…and maybe the jokes.

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