Scientists tell us that smells and scents can trigger powerful memories. I know this is especially true for me—smells bring back such vivid, “full color” pictures in my mind. When I smell the cologne that my dad wore, it is as if I can see his face, hear his voice and feel his embrace. I still have my grandfather’s shaving brush, when I put the bristles next to my face, I can still see myself as a little 6 year old boy, intently watching him mix the shaving cream, lather up and shave at the sink and mirror in his tiny work shed. My grandmother’s home was a combination of the most pleasant smells you could imagine—pies baking in the oven, beans boiling on the stove, coffee gently percolating. One of my favorites though is the smell of a hospital—something about that clean, distinct aroma speaks deeply to the calling I have as a physician. I love the smell of our cows in the back pasture and the smell of horses when they have been sweating, when you take off their saddles and the smell of fresh hay in our barn. Johnson’s baby powder will always bring back precious memories of tenderly holding the five little babies that God blessed me with. I love the smell of the people here in rural Kenya—the smell of the outdoors and charcoal fires and hard work and the animals they tend to. I love one particular kind of soap that we use here in Africa—Imperial Leather. I take some home with me when I return to the U.S.—when I wash my face, it reminds me of the people of Africa that I so love, and the incredible memories I have of working here in rural Kenya at Tenwek mission hospital and it always makes me long to return.
I was thinking about the scripture…we are the aroma of Christ. I hope that when people see me and interact with me… the aroma of my life somehow makes Jesus just a little more clear and attractive to them and creates a memory of Him that they won’t ever forget.