Monday, September 6, 2010

30 Days of Smell

Day 19: Campfire

Last night, as I laid my head on the pillow, a cloud of smoky smell drifted by my nose and floated off into the air, carried by the cool breeze floating in through the open windows. In other circumstances, the scent of smoke would have alarmed me. It didn’t last night because I knew immediately what it was from. Over the weekend, we went camping with some friends, partaking in the ritual of campfire (no s’mores, however) and sleeping under the stars. I had forgotten to change our pillowcases.

After we came home on Saturday and I took a shower, I remember smelling the strong aroma of campfire as the water rinsed over my body. It’s interesting how we can be covered in the stench of smoke but not know it. It seeps into our pores, absorbed by our hair and clothes. Smoke soaks into us like a filmy residue, often difficult to eliminate—as those who have had a house fire can attest.

Do you remember the story of Daniel and his two friends who were thrown into the fiery furnace? After they were brought out, unscathed by the fire, “the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke” (Daniel 3:27)!

I thought about this story, as I smelled lingering smoke. I have been through a few fiery ordeals in my life. I wonder if the “smell of smoke” still loiters. Can you smell it on my clothes and in my hair? Do you catch a whiff of it in my singed heart? I do. I still notice an occasional waft of sarcasm and cynicism related to a blazing trial of a few years ago. I don’t know that, like Daniel, I have come through absent of the smoky residue from the ordeal—although, as time goes on, I see far less charring and more of Christ’s healing and wholeness.

As you think about the times you have gotten close to the fire, absorbed the smoke from difficult trials in your life, when do you still smell the scent? Does it drift off you at night as you lay your head on your pillow? I am mindful of my need to keep turning to Jesus to cleanse and restore me so that I don’t smell of the dregs of my own fiery furnace. How about you?