Sunday, May 30, 2010

Does space smell and other odiferous contemplations

My smarty-pants friend Beth guessed the answer right away, but I was surprised to find out what, according to that very select group of space travelers and moon walkers, space smelled like.

Although some said fried steak, which I suspect was more a case of wishful thinking, the general consensus is that space smells like hot metal and burnt gunpowder. At first, I was disappointed to hear this. I expected space to be fragrantly fresh, filled with undefiled wafts of heavenly aromas. But I suppose it is reasonable to expect all those burning gases and exploding supernovas to leave their mark forever floating in the molecules of space (my totally unsubstantiated supposition, by the way).

Because smells are linked to the part of the brain controlling our emotions, we often associate a certain fragrance with a memory of a person or event. This works both ways--for better or for worse.

Our doggie-by-default loves the way my husband smells. As soon as he gets out of bed, the pooch jumps up and rolls in ecstatic delight all over the sheets still warm with the lingering smell of my husband. I told him not to get too smug about doggie's preferences because I saw her roll all over a dead bird as well.

Whether we consciously perceive it or not, we all leave an odiferous trail marking our presence. The apostle Paul tells us that Christ "manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God . . ."

May the trail you leave behind today be sweet and remind others of God.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No kangaroo testicles in my pocket

Stories about Mt. Everest have always fascinated me. A vicarious adventurer from the comfort of my bed, I imagine the cold shaft of fear as I climb the makeshift bridge over an icy chasm, the sharp gasp for enough breath to take the next step, and the ultimate thrill of both the accomplishment and the wonder of standing on top of the world.

Recently, Jordan Romero, a 13-year-old, became the youngest climber to summit Everest. Among his carefully chosen items to carry were several good luck charms, including a pair of kangaroo testicles. Certainly his accomplishment is to be applauded, but I am sure it had more to do with skill and training than charms in his pocket.

But I understand his deception. I too, have stuffed my pockets along life's journey with impotent charms. I too, have longed to hold onto something that would give me hope for a future and power for a victory.

I held onto my treasures so long eventually all I had left was tarnished trinkets and furless feet. It was then, when I was casting about for that one more piece--the one that would really work--that I met the Living One who said,"Follow Me."

"I am the One with whom all things are possible. I am the One who gives you a future and a hope."

"I AM."