Has there ever been a time in your life when a certain scent wafts past you and it stops you in your tracks? Like catching a whiff of the perfume your aunt used to wear or the aftershave that your grandpa once wore. Fragrance's that you haven't smelled since childhood. Aroma's from bygone years. Yet, when you catch that scent it takes you back in time, bringing a smile to your face and tears to your eyes.
Scent is a powerful memory-maker.
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
That is one of the reasons I planted Monarda, also known as Bee Balm, in my garden. Yes. It draws butterflies, which I love, but, Bee Balm also grows wild along the creeks and little tributaries in my home state of Pennsylvania. Each time I rub a leaf between my fingers and lift them to my nose, I am transported back to the creek beds on adventures with my Grandpa and Grandma Simey.
Such sweet memories.
For some, however, the adverse effect happens. Certain smells are a trigger to pain-filled memories.
What happened to us in the past can have a huge impact on how we live today. We who have had troubled memories are faced with a choice. We can cling to bitterness or anger, as I once did, or we can forgive the past.
Mark Twain so eloquently put it this way,
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
When we are crushed by another our first thought is retribution. Not forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard.
So often, we think that to forgive is to let the one who harmed us go free. But, what forgiveness really does is it sets us free. We are no longer bound by what happened in the past.
Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart. —Beyond Ordinary
In choosing to forgive, our brokenness can be a sweet aroma freshening the air for those still choking on painful memories that have putrefied.
We cannot change the past. But, we can choose today to be the aroma of Christ in our world. A world that so desperately needs to experience the fragrance of forgiveness. The sweet scent of hope.
It's exactly what Jesus did when he said, "Father forgive them. They don't know what they are doing."
Whether we are blessed with blissful memories or bitter, we need to ask ourselves, what kind of fragrance do we hope to leave in people's memories that we rub shoulders with every day?
—Henry David Thoreau
Lord, may we choose today to be a fragrance of forgiveness. An aroma of hope. And the sweet scent of Jesus' peace as we make our way in this world. Amen.
In a turbulent world where people are perishing… we are the sweet aroma of Christ.
—2nd Corinthians 2:15
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. —Tony Robbins