My House Smells

Beautiful Young Woman Outdoors. Enjoy Nature. Meadow

I want my house to smell as welcoming as warm cookies, as sedated as clean linens, as invigorating as lemonade from the stand. Natural. Gathering my lighter to fire-up the candles, but I don’t have enough in the same scent. I reach for a cranberry/orange, and a fresh balsam, a cookie crumbs, a vanilla holiday, a pine needles, and a frosted mulberry candle. With each simultaneously glowing and scattered through the rooms—this house will smell better soon or I’ll ignite from an allergic reaction.

Yea, I know your house never suffers from this malady. Yours is more like freshly laundered sheets and orchids.

It’s not just my house. My life could use a fresh scent, only, I can’t settle on the right mix. Some days I’m as tart as apple peels, others like a zebra let loose from her stripes. An occasional moment has me reclining with a stretch a bit too reaching. I don’t know how I should smell. These emotions run together like streams converging into a river. I don’t even know what I want for dinner. You pick. But no rabbit. Or squirrel. Or chicken liver.

Have you ever wondered if God always eats oatmeal for breakfast or if He is satisfied with a bit of nuts in His pancakes? Does His world twirl as precisely as sunset and sunrise? Would He pout if I missed out on the lecture in return for a quiet conversation? Does His kitchen smell like mine in the morning?

God, my world is zips and zaps in competing twists. Today looks like rest when I need it to be a tree laden with oranges. Productive and focused. Oftentimes, I feel challenged because my world isn’t tidy, wrapped, and displayed with a pretty ribbon. And I want it to be.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said he had a dream. I have a dream, too, a dream that I will finish all the tasks I’ve started, that I will finish well. I shudder at the mention of a wasted life, but would rather become a beacon of God’s goodness. My list doesn’t include fame, not anymore, and it doesn’t choose perfection, although I’m obligated to perform well. I want to live as if God matters, life matters, and the people He’s placed in my care matters.

How can I live without passion, but just to coast along in some mediocre posture? It’s this passion that places me in the fast lane. Always running—eager to accomplish the desires of my God-saturated heart. Ten is never enough. It must be eleven. And then twelve. I cannot stop. Or I will die a miserable old soul.

This isn’t about armpits and dirty feet or yesterday’s pot of turnips greens floating odors around the room. It’s more like cleanness in my soul, clarity of mind, and freedom to soar. I want to live unencumbered with secondaries, to live solely for the essentials, to have a house that smells good. Everyday.

Aging Isn’t for Sissies

old flower pot at a window

Aging isn’t what ads on television portray—retiring in this luxurious community filled with smiling folk who enjoy golf, tennis, fine dining, pleasant relationships, and lots of laughter. Those people must not have hip replacements, aching feet, chronic joint pain, failing eyesight, and thinning hair. In those commercials, they behave as if aging is the first dance in next year’s prom. I’m convinced they dropped their teeth down the laundry chute.

For that matter, who gets to retire when she still remembers how to drive to the local pharmacy, or while she still hears the moderator announce her winning card at Bingo? Before one retires she’s so exhausted she can’t get up for breakfast and merely wants to spend her life in pajamas.

Aging is a terrible blow to pride.

Who would have thought my contemporary rose countertops would one day resemble a salvaged relic from primitive settlers? How sad is that? I think my yellow drapes are lovely only to realize they are depressingly old-fashioned. This is what aging does for us, it labels us and all our treasures as signs of the past.

Our scarves become too short and skirts too long. The favorite sweater is the wrong color, shape and size. Our pumps are now pointed rather than rounded, the dress design ornate as opposed to simple, and the jewelry ALL wrong, just wrong. When we thought we had plenty to wear we don’t have a thing in our closet.

Looking in the mirror, my body isn’t proportioned as it once was. When I was a preferred size I never had money to buy Barbie clothes and now that I have the money I’ve lost the size. I told the clerk in the swimsuit section that I wanted a bathing suit for people like me. And she looked down at herself and said, “and me.” We both agreed that there wasn’t a swimsuit either one of us was fond of wearing. Aging.

Grand parenting is another stretch. We raise our children to the age where they have their own only to learn the doctors think we didn’t know what we were doing. We don’t know how to hold babies, burp babies, feed babies, or put them down to sleep. We might suffocate, choke, or kill them. We tremble whenever we’re near the little darlings for fear we might touch one and send it into a coma—too many germs floating around these days.

I think we’re eating a healthy meal only to discover it’s not organic. I jump on the organic track only to meet gluten-free. Forget it! Give me a desert loaded with everything rich and delicious.

Folk the world over fight aging. They take every known remedy from Vitamin B, C, D, and E or probably F, G, and H if they were available. Stretching, sucking, and botoxing become the norm where people who didn’t know where to start also don’t know where to stop. Before long one looks like a bee stung lipped, slanted-eyed clown wearing red boots and a mini skirt. Wow! I don’t know what to say.

Does it come to this with those who age? As fun as I’ve had with this blog, I don’t think aging in Christ is quite the same as aging in the world.

Christianity teaches us to revere our elders, respecting their wisdom. The world tells us older folk are outdated. The Bible instructs us to be modest in our apparel. The world instills sensual garments to promote sexuality. Christianity produces goodness, grace, purity, and knowledge while the world sells pride, sex, and materialism.

With aging comes wisdom. We have a choice. Our conclusion tells us to let the countertops remain because we like the color rose more than we embrace an unknown designer dictating society’s preferences. We adore our yellow drapes because we would rather have a happy home than a model house. We return to our closets and cast an indifferent glance to the current generation’s spend-a-holics for we’ve long since learned to use our resources for eternal purposes.

Whether big haired, little haired, tanned, or glowing white we don’t have to know all the rules, terms, twists, or lingo. Even though we walk with a limp, listen with a little less volume, and see only the large print, we bring a usefulness to the table far superior to the upstarts—a heart full of love, and an understanding as deep and wide as God allows.