The Smell of God

This is the last day of a month. Often when a new month is beginning, I use it as a reason to start something new or get back to a habit I once had  before the lazies got me. I haven’t gone out to watch the sun rise for quite a while, for example.

Tomorrow the sun comes up at 6 am. I plan to be there for her. This morning I went out on my porch to see her at 8 after she’d been up for a while. The aroma of the morning smells was still around; it hadn’t yet been burned off.  Whenever I step outside in the morning, I am struck by the aromas that are so present. When I say “struck”, I mean surprised as though for the first time. It feels like I am being slapped in the face. I seem to forget about that experience when I am in the house deciding whether to go out or not. This may sound like crazy-talk to you, but I think I am smelling God. We talk about seeing God in nature and listening to God, but we don’t usually associate smell as God. The thing about smells is that they seem to seek us out. “What is that smell?”…we ask when some aroma sneaks into our noses. It takes us unawares. It interrupts our train of thought. It captures our curiosity and we start sniffing around like a dog until we find its source. We start making guesses about what it might be. There comes a point when we may stop looking and just settle into the smelling. We breathe deeply and take pleasure as the air passes through our nasal passages. Then we have to breathe out again and over time the aroma fades. There is nothing we can do about its fading away. All we have is the  memory of it and a hope that it will return.

I don’t know why this reminds me of the experience of God. What makes me wonder is why I seem to  forget that this will happen if only I step out the door in the early morning. All I have to do is suit up and show up and the miracle will happen.

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