Right now you are breathing an array of “smell-cells” that travel through your nostrils to rendezvous and be analyzed at a brain terminal inside your head. The brain reads and routes these smell cells through what is called the limbic system from which an aroma of pancakes or perfume affects mood, emotions, behavior and especially, MEMORY.
If I pause for a moment, I can harvest vivid and often satisfying memories from “smells” that I summon. From my virtual storehouse of smells I can re-experience:
Uddlerly fresh milk
Walking on railroad tracks
Unsaddling a sweaty horse
Stacking hay bales in a barn
Dad’s cigarette smoke
Picking cherries, peaches, plums
Changing a track on an old bulldozer
Firing a black powder pistol
Carol’s strawberry perfume
Sled dogs lurching in harness
Pouring concrete footings
Pulling green chain at a sawmill
Smoke from wigwam burners
Fresh-cut oak on a hot day
Bonfire on a moose hunt
My powdered grand-babies
Cleaning rifles with gun oil
Ocean beach on the Oregon coast
Chicken coops (nuf said)
Memories and smells share the same sentimental pathways for most of us…
Paul the Apostle created an olfactory object lesson to explain how people will react to us when we testify about our faith in Christ. To some, we spiritually “reek”, no matter how friendly and helpful we try to be.
But our born-again acquaintances recognize us as part of their family. Like them, we are cleansed and anointed by the Spirit of Christ. Fellow believers savor the fragrance of forgiveness that permeates our lives.
God’s invitation to know him resides in everyone’s virtual storehouse. The aroma of God’s grace is impossible to ignore. It lingers like a bouquet of roses for as long as we live.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life… (II Cor. 2:15-16)