Aroma

We just got home from a cold trip to Yosemite.    When we planned this trip back in March, I had glamorous visions from recent Sunset Magazine articles of autumn glory in the mountains.  I hadn’t really bargained for the fall’s first storm.  I hadn’t factored the reality of a mobile, almost one year old, and sickness.  And yet, that’s something I should COME to expect.  Not to lie in wait for bad things.  Rather, to know that my expectations, my visions of reality, will no doubt come through differently when the date finally rolls around.

Needless to say, as I mentioned in my last post, Matt went up as planned on Tuesday and weathered the storm with Alex for two cold and wet days.  Crazy or hardcore???  Who knows.  But, I know they had a blast, despite Yosemite looking like a bit of a ghost town.

With a little urging from the hubby, I took off to join them on Thursday, despite rainy skies.

As Drew and I entered the park, we started driving through snow….lots of snow.  Narnia-esque….

We exited the third tunnel upon this scene.  I seriously find views like this one to be the embodiment of God.  His handiwork is beyond the fringes of our creativity.

We spent 48 hours soaking in the glory and views.  Yes, there were temper tantrums, cold noses and fingers, sleepless nights and time outs, but the good outweighed the bad.

Now that we’re home, I’m unpacking, washing, cleaning, putting away….and every bag I open, every Ziploc I unload, every piece of clothing I push into the washing machine, emits an aroma.  Smoke seems to be seeping out of each and every item.  Despite washing dishes before our departure, or even finding clothing that wasn’t worn, each item still smells of that smoke.  After two days of not showering, I washed my hair three times last night and it STILL smells like smoke.

Smells are amazing memory joggers.  They remind.  They take us back.  They cement life experiences.  When I smell campfire smoke, I am reminded of many moments–too many to recount here.  Our lives, prior to our current location, took place working full time at a summer camp.  Our days and evenings were often centered around campfires.

And that scent.  The odor.  The remembrance of smoke is vivid.  I washed and washed and washed my hair.  I washed and washed and washed our clothes.  I washed and washed and washed the dishes.  And still….the scent remained.

The aroma.

Today I am going to a few events and I want to wear a sign that says, “Yes, I smell like smoke, BUT…I’ve showered.  And done 6 loads of laundry and run the dishwasher….”  I tried to remove the scent.  Take away the aroma.  Yet, it remains.

I think we do that in our lives too.  We wash and scrub and work and try to remove the traces of our past.  Like the bag I brought home from our trip, though, or Alex’s little plastic camp chair, we often bare scars.  Marks that tell of our past.  Burns that can be seen.  Times where we got a little too close to the fire and didn’t make it out unscathed.

We try to wear masks and keep the scars and stains and hurt hidden.

….but the reality is still visible.  We can’t, on our own, keep it hidden or erase the sin, and pain and past.

I had a *moment* on the drive home, though, that reminded me of the Other Reality.  The truth that there is only One who can once and for all erase that past.  Only One who can take away the stains, blemishes, hurts and aromas of yesterday.  I was listening to KLOVE.  I am a KFOG fan through and through, but on the drive to and from Yosemite, without CDs or Bay Area radio coverage, I only had a few choices.  So, KLOVE it was.  This song’s chorus really stuck with me….

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

~from “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North

You have been remade.  Not, “Your choices have been covered up as much as possible.”  Or, “Your mistakes have been concealed, but only until next Tuesday.” Or your problems will be alleviated, until the next temptation arises.”  We receive a promise from a God who loves us so much that we are REMADE.  Made new.  Our past is erased and forgotten.

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:

everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”  

~2 Corinthians 5:17

Being remade, made new, washed clean of all blemish and scent and scar seems way too much.  We are taught to never ask for too much or allow our expectations to be too high.  And yet God promises us, in Jesus, the gift of becoming a new creation.  To be remade.  Still hard to grasp that we are made in God’s image in the first place, and yet, we must be remade.  Why would God allow things to unfold like that?  Seems a bit unproductive?!?  And yet, that is the way of it.  The way of grace.  The response asked of us?  To only see our aroma, our past, our mistakes, our humanity, and give up.  Give up our own efforts to wash, rinse, scrub and erase, and know that the power to do so is only found in ONE place.  The place where we let go.  And trust that God will remake us.

5 thoughts on “Aroma

  1. Christine: your photos embody Story. That upward take on the snow-drenched trees (redwood?) is breath-taking. Begin to believe fully in your gift and watch how our Father God will shine through your photography to impact a generation–He already is through your writing. Thank you for sharing your artistry with my family. What a gorgeous privledge to be engulfed in beauty. ~ grab those Kingdom Keys girl and get yourself some biz cards!! ;o) ~ your sister, Joanna XO

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