Monday, 18 July 2011

Fragrant or just plain smelly?

What's your favourite smell I wonder?
Smell is such a big thing for us all, we can be drawn to or repulsed by smells. We can find them comforting or concerning, attractive or not so attractive. Each person has a different view of the same smell.
Fresh coffee, roast dinners, the smell of the grass after it has rained; these are all appealing to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also feature on many other people’s lists too. They may make me smile, or salivate but they don't comfort and console. The smells which have this affect on me are less likely to be shared with another living soul.
When I was a child I had a cuddly bunny rabbit who had very long ears. I used to take this toy to bed, and with my thumb firmly fixed in my mouth, my two first fingers would hold her ears to my nose. Yellow bunny’s smell comforted and reassured me, and for a long time I would continue this ritual at night (and occasionally in the day if poorly or sad) . The rabbit sniffing continued way longer than the thumb sucking, and although I never suck my thumb these days I don’t mind admitting that a cuddly rabbit’s ears still get the occasional sniff!
Another very homely smell for me is that of a church. Now, before you call in the medics and have me assessed, may I just point out that I do not actively sniff anything. I merely step into a church and the deeply familiar smell makes it feel like a homecoming. This applies to any church, large or small, medieval or modern, cathedral or kirk, incense or none (although the lingering smell of incense is an added bonus for me).
When I was a child we sang the odd worship song, I mean odd as in occasional but one could also apply that word to some of the lyrical content. The Graham Kendrick track, May the Fragrance of Jesus used to make me titter. What is Jesus’ smell? We would ask ourselves. If we don’t know the answer to this, how will we know when it fills this place?
As far as I am concerned, for me an aspect of the fragrance of Jesus is the smell of home-coming. The smell I encounter when I step on Holy ground, and Jesus draws me to him and says “S, you are mine, you are safe and I love you” This is not the only place to experience this love, and so experience the fragrance of Jesus, in many ways for me it is the most obvious. It is also only one of my God given senses at work in it.


  1. I seem to have a heightened sense of smell (which is ironic as my dad has none, literally) and I'm always commenting on the smells of thigns to which my husband generally thinks I am nuts. To me my favourite smell ever is my Dads garage, which is sort of oily and dusty. I think of it a bit like you do with churches, like its coming home, it is comforting. Smell to me is a huge part of my life, (if that doesnt sound too wierd..) envoking memories and feelings with one sniff!
    As an youngest also has a favoured bunny and does the same with its ears as you did. trying to get it in the wash is almost impossible and he has had several ear transplants where they have worn away!!

  2. Washing the bunny?!?!?! Noooooooooo ;)
    Your youngest is braver than I ever was, by the time I was 18 Yellow Bunny's ears were hanging by a thread. No way would I have allowed ear transplants! The annual wash was bad enough...

    Thanks for the comment.