There is an antique truck parked at a gas station downtown, near where I work. If I go for a walk outside, I can smell the musky scent of oil, gas, and metal. It is a special smell to me, reminding me of my grandfathers and their work-worn hands. It is the smell of craftsmanship, tenacity, creativity, and determination. Traits I was taught to admire and respect.
My maternal grandfather was a tool and die maker. He made pieces for machines and industry to run better, easier, and to complete different tasks. His hands were huge, strong, powerful, and yet, with me, tender and guiding. Although his skin had a natural tanned look, his hands tended to have a permanent discoloration from the grease and oil he used at work. When he retired, his hands still had the marks of grease and oil as he worked on his Model A cars.
My paternal grandfather was a farmer. He grew up in the age of horse-drawn plows and fixing the things that broke down, instead of replacing them. His hands were weather-worn and work-worn, rough, yet tender when you would not expect it. I remember him using Corn huskers’ Lotion when he came in from the field, to help soften and heal his hands. Seeing a bottle of it at my own father’s house today, brings a sweet memory to mind.
These smells and scents made me wonder, what kind of “smell” will be connected to my memory? Will it be of ginger snaps, like my paternal grandma or of Vanderbilt perfume like my maternal grandmother?
Will I leave behind the fragrance of Grace, Humility, Kindness, Generosity, and Mercy? Scripture talks of the sweet aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) being enticing to those who love Christ and are drawn to Him. How could I, as a believer, have a scent of Grace if I am not growing Grace in my own life and heart?
As it says in Matthew 12:34, Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So in other words, what is inside will come outside. Whether it is Grace, Mercy, Love, and Joy or hatred, cruelty, disobedience, and destruction.
My prayer, O Best Beloved, is that my sons and any generation that follows, will not scrunch up their nose at the memory of my traits and character, but instead will be pleased to recall a memory of me. Not because of the human parts of me, but because of the Holy Spirit who lived inside of me. The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that I lived out loud and shared with others (2 Corinthians 4:5-6).
When your life comes to an end, Dear Ones, what do you hope will come to mind with memories of you?