I love my Granny. She is a great lady. She’s caring, loving and a good laugh. She’s a skilled, wonderful cook too and makes a mean meat and potato pie – an essential Northern meal! In fact my mouth is watering just thinking about Granny’s meat and potato pie and I’ve only just eaten my breakfast!
But besides the wafts of delicious food that emanate from my Granny’s kitchen when I go to visit, (unfortunately not as often as I would like to these days due to distance) Granny and her house have a very distinctive fragrance. Don’t worry it’s not a bad smell, it’s actually rather nice. Strong and perfumey. A sweet aroma that transports me back to my childhood, triggering very fond and happy memories of Christmas’ at Granny’s and long weekend visits, where she looked after me and always asked me “Have you had sufficient?”
And when I get home from time with Granny, I find that my clothes still hold her perfume even for a couple of days. It lingers there and reminds me of a person that I hold very dear to my heart.
Some smells are really powerful and are logged in our memory. They remind us of certain events, certain people and experiences that we have had. It’s amazing how with one whiff we are transported back to that moment. The smell of pine needles immediately makes me feel Christmassy inside and freshly popped popcorn transports me to the cinema. Just like freshly cut grass reminds me of long summer days. Some smells are just unforgettable.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.” This quote is so true for when I think of Granny. Our sense of smell heightens our memories and solidifies our experiences.
If food smells bad then we know that it is not good for us to eat it. But if something smells lovely then we are more inclined to be around it. Smells can be inviting and pleasant, extravagant and comforting.
2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” As a Christian, God calls me to smell like Jesus, to not only look and act like him but for His very essence to flavour my life so that others might catch a whiff of what He is like. God wants the smell of Jesus to linger on the people we meet with everyday day wherever that may be, whatever that many look like. He wants the smell of the Church to trigger a fond memory for newcomers that might only be there as a wedding guest or someone attending a family/friends christening. We can be that aroma!
So what do you smell like today?
My prayer for this New Year is that our scent is one that is pleasing to God, reflecting the aroma of Jesus.
Happy New Year!
Oli Deeks (Centre Director)