Remember this Moment: A Scent that Sparks a Memory
by Susan Klosterman-Finke
The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved. —Song of Songs 7:13
Over the years, much research has been done on scents and their relationship to memory and emotions. Neuroscientists have hypothesized that the exceptional ability that smells have to trigger memories is due to how close the olfactory processing system is to the memory and emotional hub in the brain.
Most of us can think of smells that evoke particular memories. For example, the scent of lilacs reminds me of my childhood home in North Dakota. A massive lilac bush grew alongside our house right outside the kitchen window. In the spring and early summer when that window was wide open, the luscious scent of lilacs would waft through our kitchen and dining room. To this day, the scent of lilacs evokes very positive emotions in me.
Another scent that brings forth fond memories is that of ginger. At Christmastime, my grandmother would bake dozens of ginger snap cookies that she would give to her family and friends as a Christmas gift. When I make ginger snap cookies now, I’m reminded of my grandmother’s kindness and generosity.
There are thousands of aromas and scents that we are exposed to every day. As Christians, even we have a particular scent that emanates from us. In second Corinthians, Paul says that “we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ…” God works in and through us to bring about this heavenly scent which flows up to Him and out to those around us. I believe it is God’s desire that this aroma will evoke a sense of Christ’s love, grace, and mercy to those we come in contact with. God has provided us with this fragrance to be used for His glory in leading others to Him.
When we leave this earthly home, we can surely count it as a blessing if people will remember us by the “aroma of Christ” that has emanated from us during our lifetime.
What scents bring back memories for you?