Monday, January 26, 2009

smells and odours

There's some odours that just seem to permeate everything...cooked cabbage, fresh cut flowers, smoke, fish oil, dirty diaper pails, and cleaning supplies. There's probably more to that list, but those are just the first few that came to mind. Then there's the smells that I absolutely love: fresh bread, just baked chocolate chip cookies, vanilla scented candles. And then that line gets drawn. You know, you're burning a candle to kill the sneezy smell of Mop-N-Glo or clorox, rejoicing that not only is the floor clean but your house is actually starting to smell good, too, when someone comes in and says, "You know that candle is stinking up the house." or something to that affect.

Come to find out, when Bobby was growing up, many of the field hands who worked with them in tobacco didn't bathe (and many of them didn't wear deodorant, either). They would use vanilla flavoring as a deodorant or perfume to mask their body odours. Now, I love the smell of vanilla, but I can't say I'm too crazy about the smell of body sweat. And I can imagine that vanilla mixed in with body sweat in 100 degree summer weather, plus fertilizers and tobacco plants was not a pleasant scent. My nose sniffs a vanilla candle and my senses are pleased. Bobby smells one and is instantly reminded of the tobacco fields. So I seldom burn the fragrance I enjoy. After all, there's a multitude of fragrances out there that I do like that don't make me sneeze.

There was one other time there was a good scent/bad scent mix-up. My last year in China, the school's foreign affairs office took us to a field trip in the southern part of our province (Ningxia). We visited the ruins of Buddhist temples, as well as the ones that had survived in the caves and on the mountaintops. While at the top of the mountain, we entered one where people were burning incense. Within a few minutes, my sinus ways were clogged, I was starting to feel woozy, and I knew if I didn't get out of there quick I was going to be sick. (Similar to the effect fresh cut flowers sometimes have on me.) As I turned to look of an open window or door, the British teacher behind me, who was of Chinese descent, sighed and said, "Ummm, this smell takes me back to my childhood. Isn't it great?" I was appalled that something I found to be a stench was actually a comforting, sweet aroma to someone else.

I think about smells and stenches quite a bit, but I had never compared it to our lives as Christians until yesterday. Our pastor preached from somewhere in II Corinthians (I think). While his whole sermon was about telling people about Jesus Christ, one of his points was that some people will find our views and beliefs as a pleasant smell. Others will find it a stench. But all that really matters is that it is a smell pleasing to God. That's a little freeing...(but who doesn't want to be considered a good smell?)

and along those lines...Kohl's has these cute little bottles advertised in their sale paper...called reed dispensers...there's also a small line about Yankee Candles...WHAT on earth are those things? Does anybody know?


Jennifer said...

I don't know what reed dispensers are but I love yankee candles. They smell the best!! (just a brand name(

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

ooo...I love reed diffusers! I use them occasionally. They are made out of absorbent material and absorb the scented liquid you put them in and diffuse it throughout the room.

mrs.pabody said...

I think Nan owns stock in Yankee candles. Just kidding, but she's a big fan. They have an outlet in Smithfield.
Did you know that smelling is ur strongest sense?
Did you know that I love the way you write? :-)

mrs.pabody said...

Ummm.. I've been chatting/texting with the teens too much. :-/
I actually DO know how to spell "your!"