Thursday, July 21, 2011

Writers Show and Tell:The Smell of Home

I love to see people get excited about the stories only they can tell. Whether through fiction, film, music or nonfiction, I believe it is important for Christians to promote their worldview in the marketplace. We truly can be in the world but not of it. But if we are not the storytellers for the next generation, then who is?

After teaching a couple of writing workshops at our church, I decided to offer the opportunity to new writers to post on "Show and Tell" day on my blog. My last post on how smells are related to memories triggered a memory in one of my workshop attendees.

Glynda Caddell ran a home for boys who had been removed from their family situations. She has many poignant stories to tell, but today she is sharing one on the importance of smells.

His name was Sam, and he spat it out like a bullet while clutching several paper sacks filled with odds and ends of seven years of life. Rescued from a drug haven,he was unceremoniously dumped into our group home.

Not knowing the grade he spent the past year in, we sent him to the on-campus teacher for evaluation.Reports flowed down within the hour–“uncooperative, sullen, physically aggressive if approached too closely”.

Sam’s hard shell cover was firmly in place and his salty language progressed to even more personal attacks. By noon the therapist had been called to help.Later, we sent Sam back to his cottage, hopefully to rest and rein in his aggression. A short-lived expectation.

The panic button sounded and several of us rushed to help. Sam was destroying his room, his belongings and anything else his legs and arms could slam into.

“For no good reason”, reported the house parent.

Hot angry tears flowed down his face as Sam screamed, “You washed my blanket, you #&@*”!

“I washed all your stuff; it was dirty and it smelled”, answered the house parent.

With his little face flattened into a tattered piece of Dollar Store blanket, Sam whispered,“But it don’t smell like home anymore”.
Lord, in our efforts to clean others up, we often overlook the things that are important. Help us to be more sensitive.And open our eyes to ways we can be a part of a good memory in another's life.

Jude 1:22 And on some have compassion, making a difference…


  1. Wow, this was a very good illustration of how powerfuly our senses are related to memory as well as security, comfort and perhaps even our sense of safety. Great post, thank you for sharing.

  2. That post makes me unfathomably sad and at the same time, brings back memories of my days as a houseparent.


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