It’s intriguing how circumstances can change the way a person views a special day. A holiday.
Twelve years ago on Lincoln’s birthday, my Dad graduated to heaven.
A day a good man was born; a day a really good man died.
His memorial was on Valentine’s Day. I don’t look at February 14th as cupids, hearts and flowers any more. No pink, red, doily-covered cards or chocolates.
It’s the day my family laid to rest a man we loved, respected and thoroughly enjoyed. The man who’d been the fulcrum of our family. The one who could explain Mom to the rest of us. The one who saw glorious things about each of his four children and was quick to encourage them.
The funny thing is that it wasn’t all the Presidents’ Day sales that reminded me of his passing. Not the plethora of roses, cards and creatively crafted chocolates that brought my loss to mind.
It was the smell of a bagel.
Dad loved life. I’ve never known anyone who could find so much enjoyment in the small things. The fun things. The pleasurable things.
Like a really good cinnamon sugar bagel.
Towards the end of his life he’d had a series of small strokes–feather strokes–that stole bits and pieces of him away from us. But while he still had his wits and humor about him, he would come to Florida and visit my family here. Mom would join him a couple of days later, giving him time with his grandkids. And me.
Once we’d gotten the kids off to school and John had left for work, Dad and I would go to our favorite bagel shop and get coffee and a bagel. He always got a cinnamon sugar bagel.
And we’d talk.
About anything. He was a wonderful conversationalist. He’d always ask great questions. And if there were others in the bagel shop–which there always were–he’d talk to them as well. He’d make a comment or ask a question about an aspect that he saw that intrigued him. And before I knew it, we were engaged in conversations with complete strangers.
But then Dad didn’t really know any strangers.
So when I walked into this bagel shop for coffee, I smelled them. Fresh bagels. Cinnamon sugar bagels.
Memories flooded my mind. And I couldn’t help the tears.
Smells spark some of our strongest memories. Those bagels reminded me of what a great Dad I had, how much he loved me, how much I enjoyed him.
We’re all walking fragrances. Our actions, words and attitudes contribute to the aroma we leave with others. Some of us are sweet and fragrant. Others carry a stronger, more bracing aroma. And some are harsh and bitter.
The Bible talks about those who know Jesus as having a specific aroma.
“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation–an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” 2 Corinthians 2:15
I want that sweet scent of Jesus to define me. Full of life and promise. I don’t want to be the smell of a decaying body to anyone because of my actions or words. I’d rather others perceive me as the smell of hope and life and love.
Rather like a fresh cinnamon sugar bagel.
The photo of the bagel courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.
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