What are some of your favorite smells? I love the smell of steaks on the grill. I love the scent of new-mown hay on a summer evening. The breeze that billowed the curtains in the farmhouse where Lois and I played house when we were first married was hay-scented breeze. I love to drive slow on a summer night in the country and see the fireflies flicker over a field of hay and smell its earthy perfume.
There is a unique combination of pleasing smells that takes me back in my mind to my grandma’s living room. It warms my heart and moistens my eyes to think of it now. She and grandpa are both with the Lord now, but I can still see her smile and hear her voice in my memory. We always talked about books and the things of the Lord and other things and people dear to us. She was one of the few people in my life who would never think of rushing me off. She loved to hear my stories. I loved to listen to hers. I do so miss the smell of that little house in Indiana.
When I kiss our sweet baby Hope goodnight after her bath on a Saturday night she has the sweetest smell about her at that time. We have five beautiful girls in the house. Sometimes with all their lotions and perfumes the whole house smells like a flower shop. (You don’t want to know what the boys room smells like).
There is the wonderful fragrance of our wood fire that haunts me when I step out on a starlit night to walk and meditate.
Yesterday morning there were two prevailing smells in the house. Both of them were good. One was the wonderful smell of coffee (butterscotch toffee to be precise). The other smell was the lingering pleasant scent left by my oldest son before he left for work. He was wearing my cologne. It was a good smell. It made me smile.
The subject came up again on the phone later in the day while I was talking to a parishioner. Her daughter works in the same office with my son. She related a comment someone in the office made. She said; “The place always smells nice since Kyle came to work here.”
The Bible really has a lot to say about smells.
To some our convictions about Christ are attractive and compelling like a pleasing scent. To others those convictions are repulsive and distasteful like the smell of death. “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Ecclesiastes says foolishness is like a foul odor. “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
Whenever I smell the perfume Lois wore when we first met, powerful memories stir my heart again. Solomon must have had the same experience, he said; “How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse. How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices!” (Song of Solomon 4:10) You gotta’ admit the guy had a way with words, didn’t he?
The good advice of a friend is like a delightful smell. “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” (Proverbs 27:9)
According to the book of Revelation the prayers of the saints are so sweet smelling to the Lord that he assigns angels to gather them in golden bowls. (5:8 and 8:3). What’s true in heaven is true on earth too. In our church a handful of saints have gathered for years every Wednesday night for an old-fashioned prayer meeting. They get in little groups all over the auditorium to pray. The murmur of their prayers is a sweet thing to hear.
Everyone contributes an aroma to the atmosphere wherever they are. Some people by their words and attitudes foul the atmosphere wherever they go. When they leave the room you want to fumigate. I would like to think that when I leave the room people say; “The place always smells nice since he started working here.
Originally published November 22, 2001 (Fremont, Michigan)