What Do You Smell Like?


Flower Fields


“As she came closer to him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost as if he were made of them. She liked it very much and when she looked into his funny face with the red cheeks and round blue eyes she forgot that she had felt shy.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

Don’t you love that line about Dickon, the wonderful boy in “The Secret Garden”?

Just like Dickon, we all smell of our surroundings. We smell of the places we visit and spend our time. When you walk out of your favorite pizza shop, everyone can tell where you’ve been. And I hope I’m not the only one who can smell the delicious fajitas IN MY HAIR, after I’ve been to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Aromas are everywhere, and they can evoke a powerful and involuntary response, bringing sweet memories of places and people we love, and at times triggering a powerful aversion to a very unpleasant something.

Why all the “aroma talk” from me? Well, the power of scent is fresh on my mind. Early Wednesday morning BOTH our dogs were sprayed by a SKUNK, right outside our kitchen door. Our family scrubbed our pets – and our entire house for the next twelve hours. Even then, the repulsive smell still lingered. I cleaned floors, furniture and cupboards. I washed curtains, blankets and clothes.  After my second shower of the day, with the odor of skunk still burning my nostrils, I got to thinking about a deeper scent than any stench from animals, or beautiful scent from perfume could ever give.

Mr. Bunker wasn't happy about his bath.

Mr. Bunker wasn’t happy about his bath.

We can try all we like, to smell like something, but the only way we smell of it is if we are exposed or immersed in it. Take for example, LOVE. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there’s a fragrance around certain people. There are those whose lives drip with the sweet smell of love. They smell of love because they LIVE love. They don’t even have to try to smell of it. These beautiful souls naturally leave a trail of the fragrance of love wherever they walk.

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses”  ~ Jean Cocteau

The places where we choose to spend our time and our thoughts affect us. You can tell where someone’s been, by the scent lingering on their skin. In the same way, our very being is deeply influenced by the places, things and attitudes to which we chose to expose ourselves.

There are two ways that I believe our character and spirit take on a pleasing and sweet aroma. The first is worship.

Worship is everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do, revealing that which we treasure and value most in life.”    ~ Josh Riley

When we worship (and spend time with) Jesus, our lives are transformed. Remember Mary, who lavishly washed her Lord’s feet with her most precious possession? The whole house smelled of the perfume. In the same way, when we spend our lives in a constant attitude of worship, it creates an aroma all about us. Our worship is a pleasing fragrance to God, and to those around us.

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance {of Christ}.  ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15, The Message

The second way, is through serving others. When we choose to put our own comforts and needs aside, and help our spouse, our children, our neighbors, the orphans, the widows, the destitute, and the slaves & prisoners, we bring Life, and Hope, and Joy. Serving people is loving people. And love brings a sweet, sweet smell.

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

I’m happy to report the smell of skunk is {almost} gone from our home. But the lesson I learned will linger in my mind for years to come. I’m closing with a quote that encourages, challenges and inspires me:

“The fragrance of their lives was different from the stench of the world. You could tell when you were with them. Their attitudes and priorities and lifestyles were different… It was the fragrance of heaven. Strong. Powerful. Life-changing.” ~ Steven James

May you be one who leaves a sweet smell wherever you go. ~ Justina Dee


References and quotes, in order of appearance:

Frances Hodsgon Burnett, The Secret Garden

The Story of Mary, John 12:1-3


2 Cor 2:14-15

Ephesians 5:1-2, ESV

How To Smell Like God, Steven James

4 thoughts on “What Do You Smell Like?

  1. This is a really good article filled to the brim with truth and grace. And the yucky shunk gave you the chance to be this inspired. Thank you.
    —Aunt Rachel

    • Thank you for your kind words, Aunt Rachel! I had plenty of time to think about all of these truths while scrubbing away the smell. It was truly a blessing! Much love!

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