Monday, June 28, 2010

30 Days of Smell

Day 5: Gardenia

Of all the floral fragrances, gardenia is by far my favorite. I fell in love with gardenias on my wedding day. My bouquet ensconced several blossoms and created a trail of the most luxurious scent throughout our entire celebration. Ever since, I have had a romantic attachment to this delicate fragrance. In fact, whenever David buys me perfume, he looks for something that is a variation on the theme of gardenia.

On our anniversary this year, David gave me a small gardenia plant. Because they are typically grown in a warm, humid climate, I decided to place it in our dining room between two windows in order to stay warm and get enough sunlight. Then on Saturday, as I was cleaning, I noticed my dear plant looking very forlorn. Many of its leaves had turned brown; the blossoms were not opening; and there was no fragrance what so ever.

I’m not sure why. I suspect it’s getting too much of something or not enough of something else. The environment obviously isn't quite right for this somewhat temperamental flower. As a result, the wonderful fragrance native to its blossoms is non-existent. What a shame!

As I pondered the quandary of my gardenia and ask for God to speak his wisdom, I thought of what it means to be a “fragrance of Christ.” Paul writes in II Corinthians 2: 14-15, “Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.” So, I ask myself (and encourage you to do the same):

  • Is my life emanating the fragrance of one who knows Jesus?
  • What of my environment or the way I live life stunts my growth and blossoming?

The amazing scent of the gardenia is a byproduct of a healthy, growing plant. The only way it gives off its natural perfume is by flourishing in an environment conducive to its peculiarities. I am a peculiar person and so are you. We must not apologize for or neglect pursuing a life that fits the particularities of our nature.

For instance, I know that I need extended times of solitude, several “slow” mornings each week in order to be at my best. I must walk regularly in natural settings and drink in creation in order to keep my soul alive. I thrive when I have deep conversations with God and others, sharing the real and hidden secrets of my heart. I often need times to be creative, to participate in some expression of art.

What do you need in order to be at your best? If you were to write "care instructions" like you find on a tag with a new plant, what would they be? Why not take some time and jot them down.

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