Roasting turkey, fresh pumpkin bread, and cinnamon-scented candles lace our home with a Thanksgiving Day perfume. It pleases me, soothes me, and fills me with a sense of well-being.
Ah - aromatherapy. Not a new concept. Asian cultures have used incense for millennia. And today we can choose fragrance in everything from coffee and candles to shampoo and detergent.
However, as a country wife I’ve had a few unpleasant aromas waft through my house, like organically generated fertilizer or the pungent perfume of a little black and white mammal - definitely the stronger of the two.
Skunks let you know when they’re in the vicinity. And they acquire a real attitude when startled or threatened - an attitude that lingers long after their departure.
Typically, I don’t think much about scent unless it pleases or displeases me; it’s the extremes that grab my attention.
Our lives have the same affect. Appreciation filters out and touches the people closest to us. It clings to those we encounter at home, at work or in rush hour traffic. So does discontent. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those around us, and has a way of transferring from one person to the next. It sticks like skunk.
The ancient Hebrews worshipped God with aroma, giving burnt offerings as a show of thanksgiving. The Psalm writer said, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2 NIV).
“Outdoor barbecue,” declared a friend of mine after moving her family to a southern state. Comparing those altars of old to her summertime pastime, “Heaven must smell like Texas,” she said.
It all makes me wonder what I smell like today: attitude or gratitude?