Monday, November 17, 2014

When You Want Your Life To Be A Sweet Aroma

On one shelf, glass bottles of expensive perfume crowd together. 

Just looking at the rows of artfully contoured containers, you would think I am obsessed with the aroma of musky floral and pungent citrus scents.

The truth is, they were all a gift to me.

One friend, who adored good perfume and high-heeled shoes, purchased them all.

She was one of the first women to call me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just a few years before, she had suffered through surgeries, treatments and complications herself. In light of my own diagnoses being so fresh, the shock of the news still hung heavy on my heart. This cancer-veteran spoke with brutal honesty of the road that stretched out ahead of me.

I was unprepared for the insight being offered. It was the final stroke that crushed my teetering emotions.

After that conversation I retreated to my office with a box of tissues and came undone. There is just no consoling a woman who is overcome with fear and for a few minutes has displaced her hope.

As my cancer journey unfolded this friend had her second cancer diagnoses delivered.

She battled long. She fought hard.

After her death, a box of clattering glass bottles were delivered to me as a gift.

It has been an odd journey to be the beneficiary of these vials. It's as if I was entrusted with the incense of her life.

I’m a woman who keeps things pretty simple. 

I have one ring, a few pairs of earrings that I wear and one type of perfume that I deeply enjoy. 

These past few years I have often paused to spritz one of the sweet bouquets into the air. Her apparent favorite was Mariella Burani. There are multiple bottles of it. The container is made of thick rectangular shaped glass, topped with a cap of red-orange resin roses.  The fragrance, to me, has a vanilla-orange that co-mingles with a musky rose scent.

For a fleeting moment, its almost as if I can capture a vapor of my friend and the life she lived. The drifting scent is reminiscent of her sparkle and spunk. Once again I can see her clear blue eyes and thick wavy blond hair that bounced when she laughed. The essence of flowers starts off a little bold like her personality and then as it settles in, a genuine warmth and authenticity linger.

I savor it until it fades.

And fade it does.

All of our lives are like that.  

The Bible says it like this:

" do not even know what will happen tomorrow. 

What is your life? 

You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

James 4:14

Of course when you are young, that seems like a vague statement that applies to older or at least other people. It's hard in the today-of-life to realize there are no promises about our tomorrows. And I don't want to focus on writing an obituary yet, however we are giving off an aroma of something with our lives and leaving a lingering impact of some kind.

My deepest desire is to leave a light scent of heaven in the wake of my life.

As I contemplate and celebrate the life of my friend, I realize that no perfume can embody her courage, perseverance and deep dignity with which she passed through the thin veil of this life into eternity.

The word fragrance has beautiful poignant meaning. 

According to the Webster 1928 Dictionary, the root of that word is from the Arabic, meaning to reach, or stretch. I think that adds a layer of depth to the whole concept of smell. Aroma is something that reaches farther than the place it originated. It has movement and impact reaching beyond the five senses and touches something much deeper. 

Something spiritual. 

Something eternal. 

In the crushing and the breaking is where the fragrance is released. 

I don’t need bottles of high priced cologne crafted by chemists, to remember the life of this woman. She lived a life that gave off a sweet aroma and a lasting impression.

Her real fragrance came from the inside, from her very soul.

While the advertising world speaks of the power of a fragrance to be able to create an atmosphere of allurement, to be provocative, exotic, uplifting, intoxicating, grounding, calming -all in the same sentence- I find myself drawn to the aroma of one life well lived.

One life filled with sincere faith, hands lifted high in honest praise and a heart surrendered to Christ. That is where there is peace, hope and the promise of eternity in heaven.

Everything else will fade.

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© Rhonda Quaney