by Debra E. Marvin, who probably eats too much garlic.
I’ve been trying my darndest to figure out what to write about on this subject Home Sweet Home. I inadvertently did some research by watching the movie Up in the Air. It was recommended to me because our department is facing Zero Funding (=100% layoffs, Thank you NY State) as of this July and the movie is about a man who is hired to come in and fire people. He spends all his time on airplanes and in hotels and dreads the time he has to spend in his ‘home’, which is actually a bare-bones, empty studio apartment.
Long story short, the character grows in empathy for those he fires and becomes more aware of the importance of family and having a place that feels like home. A true 'character-driven' story. (Red Flag Warning, the movie is rife with language and sexuality and darn it, George Clooney is starting to show wear and tear, too. I'm reviewing scents not movies. Watch at your own risk.)
Anyway, back to our theme.
I love to travel and I love to come back home. I love to walk in the door and ‘be home’. What do I love? My view, my stuff, my bed, my bathroom, my kitchen, my loft (a.k.a. office, sewing room, library general me and my junk space).
And I love my bathroom. The hot water on demand is great for showers, but it has its idiosyncrasies . . .
I love my toilet. Okay, you don’t need to know this but you have to admit . . . when you’ve been away from home and you get home, doesn’t that porcelain beauty call you in a special way? It almost makes up for having vacation end. (This is neither my toilet nor my parakeet.)
Put all your favorites together and they elicit a satisfied sigh at the end of a long work day.
Well, you know what? Your house stinks. Yeah, it does. But hopefully it's a good stink. It's you. It's the _________ family fragrance. Fill in your name.
Just like a baby seal finds its mommy on Crowded Seal Beach, and your cat finds its litter box (heck, we can all find your cat’s litter box), that secret little switch in your head tells your body to relax, it’s home.
(These are not my cats either. But I at least know these cats. And I've never smelled their litter box. Amazing.)
You must have noticed when you go visit someone that their home has an odd odor to it. A combination of what they ate (for who knows how many days back…) and what cleaners they use, and what shampoos and soap and if they didn’t, what pets they have, how many children or teenagers they have, and whether the building is new, old, dry, damp, full of dust or old books and is in the city, the country, near the lake or by the highway.
If you visit someone enough times, and if it's someone you like, you might just start to appreciate that odor combination too. It might start to smell like home away from home.
Home is a warm fuzzy feeling that starts with your nose. We react to things by scent much more than we realize. And we catalog those scents in our minds along with a related emotion. We have a long way to go to match our canine companions but we know what we like and we know when we’re home, sweet, smelly, home.
We also have a fragrance beyond the human nose.
Since God himself gave the directions for the tabernacle and first gave man a way to commune with Him after sin messed up our perfect world, our prayers have been represented as a fragrant incense wafting upwards toward Heaven.
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2)
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” (Revelations 8:3-4)
We no longer need incense to carry our prayers before a Holy God, because our Lord made a way for us to talk directly to him like a child and his father.
The words may not sound pretty or perfect to you but the honest words of a humbled heart are a sweet fragrance to Him.
So tell me, and the rest of cyberspace . . . what do you love about your home? And what are two or three things that probably contribute to the family fragrance at your house?
thanks for visiting!