“I Smell my Brother in the House”
I like how he said it. Right between math problems and sitting beside the open window, he said it.
“I smell John in the house. I smell my brother.”
I stopped, smiled and took in a deep breath, wondering what my twenty-four year old smelled like to my eleven year old.
Familiar fragrances of french press coffee, wooden pencil and rubber eraser were all I detected, none of which epitomized John to me.
“Really? What does John smell like?” I asked.
Sun caught in Daniel’s tousled blonde hair as he shrugged small shoulders. “I don’t know.” He looked up from his math page and glanced towards the stairway where John and others were playing games downstairs. “I smell John,” he declared happily, pleased with the observation.
Recently he sat beside me in church, this tall lanky man-son. His wife not with him that day, he had wandered over to our row and joined me. Both of us smiled up at his Dad who was drumming in front. I grinned happy, hugged him, and picked up my book bag to slide further down the row, making room for him.
Partway through the singing, I heard it. His voice, grown up, fully his, lifted in worship to his God, and I teared up to hear my voice singing beside his. Eyes closed, arms raised, he sang out love to His Creator, and my mama heart swelled. I know of no greater joy than that my kids know You, God, I had whispered it quiet to my God. Tears welled and I blinked them away, before trusting my voice to sing again.
And our church has been studying it during the Sunday morning adult Bible study time over coffee each week. … This idea of Loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then loving our neighbors (all of humanity) as ourselves. We’ve been wrestling with what does that really look like? How do we do that? And what are all the practical aspects that ripple out from there? We’ve barely touched the surface, I know.
Tonight I mull it over, Daniel’s recollection of knowing his brother’s scent, and my joy at singing beside my eldest son. This joy of knowing God, loving Him, should mark us so much that it radiates out from us, rippling out from us in voice and spirit, so that we are known and recognized by how it changes us. Our very essences, our heart, soul, mind and strength should be marked, changed, by knowing Him.
I’m still curious about that over here, and mulling it over, swishing it around in my head. What do people notice when they see me? How can I respond with love and respect to the people around me? Am I marked by a different fragrance?
Rain falls lightly tonight. Red and yellow celosia flowers tip and bow to the side, heavy with rain. Buckets and bowls scattered across my deck collect the rain and pool it. Night’s twilight is fresh, clean, smelling like autumn rain.
And maybe that’s the answer? What we take in is what we can reflect and refract out.
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