Monday, January 28, 2013

On Smells.

One of the strangest things about me, in my opinion, is my sense of smell. It's always been so incredibly strong that there are certain things in the morning (bananas in particular) that I cannot be near. I always smell milk before pouring it, even if I pour it again later. I smell books. At work, I know that certain customers are in the store without looking up because I smell them.

Carson, poor guy, has to deal with this on a daily basis. I'll wake up in the morning and know that we need to empty the garbage that's in the kitchen downstairs.
This is an actual conversation:
"You ate onions today". "No I didn't, I had them for lunch yesterday!" "Well, I smell them!" And I do... it's really that crazy. Had I been a dog and not a human, I could have done some serious tracking down of dangerous criminals.

(I don't know why I drew that conclusion either)

Going along with this, and certainly a more normal thing: for years, certain scents have brought back memories, good, bad and random.

I'll walk into a place, sniff and think about the place where my cousin, sister and I took art classes when I was six. I couldn't tell you what the place looked like, but I think the smell has something to do with a paper mache thing we made.

A certain lotion (it was this one) reminds me of my first semester in Spokane. Burnt food reminds me of a certain roommate (as does the sound of smoke alarms, but that's another story). 

There's a scent that reminds me of my first year in Ukraine: the smell of the body spray Kristine used. Other smells that remind me of Ukraine include the smell of cows (driving through Iowa brought back those memories vividly), diesel fuel, and candle wax... 

Saltwater reminds me of home. Even the eggy, pluff mud smell brings back good memories. 

It didn't occur to me until recently that maybe there was a tie between my sense of smell and one of my favorite passages, Second Corinthians 2:14-17. I'll type it out in case you don't know it:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in 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? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.   

So, God uses us to spread the smell of Jesus "in every place".
We are a fragrance of Jesus, ultimately to God, in the world.
We represent Him, acting as little puffs of perfume or the smell of cows, depending. We spread the aromas of death or life to those whom we're around.

We will be known by our smell. Jesus will be known by our smell. We have been given the role of ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world (Second Corinthians 5). Through us, people will see Him.

Instantly, I think of my life. I think of the interactions I have with co-workers, with people I see every day. And I wonder, What do they SMELL? And more importantly, Do THEY KNOW what they're smelling? Because they might very well see that oh, I don't curse. But do they know why? Do they know that the most important thing in my life is Jesus?

I sat there for a little while with the cursor blinking after that last sentence, just thinking.

Do they smell Jesus? 


  1. Before sitting down to read this, I complained because I was smelling the two goats that are under the house. When anyone has been near the goats I can smell the aroma of goat on them. Similarly, the nearer we are to Christ, the greater will be the aroma of Christ.

  2. So many of my memories are connected with smells. It is weird. I just have to smell something and I am in that place again.


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