Wednesday, March 2, 2011

S'mores from the Firelight: God, You Smell!

Crunchy on the outside, yummy on the inside. That’s one of the first things that comes to mind when I see this picture. Seeing a photo of toasted marshmallows can evoke any number of mental images for me. But, smelling the aroma of freshly toasted marshmallows…that evokes endless emotional images for me. In that case, the smell and sound of the fire come to mind too, and I begin to see the faces and hear the voices of my old youth group – the last crowd who joined me around a fire with s’mores. Great memories of worship and shenanigans flood my mind.

Interesting isn’t it? How much more powerful a scent can be than a sight? There is a reason for that. Here is your science lesson for the day: the region of your brain which allows you to perceive a smell is located in the same region which allows you to perceive emotions. Emotional memories are tucked away right there with your personal index of smells.

That’s why when I detect the aroma of Ralph Lauren’s Romance perfume; I am transported back to my first date with my husband. The whole emotion of that evening comes to me so vividly, my heart picks up its pace and I remember what it was like to fall in love.

When I detect the aroma of pine in the fresh air, I am transported to Durango, Colorado and countless hiking adventures in the San Juan Mountains with my family. My heart is at peace as I remember the grandeur of God’s creation and the comfort of my childhood “home”.

When I detect the aroma of mothballs, I am at my grandma’s side. (Funny, but true!) It matters not that this grandmother has been gone from my life for over a decade. She is inspiring me with her knowledge of Shakespeare. We are talking about theatre and costuming, her two passions. Yes, all that from mothballs!

So when I read in the Psalms that my prayers to God rise up to Him like incense (Psalms 141:2), I indulge my imagination as I wonder:

How does God’s heart respond when His throne room is filled with the aroma of my prayers?


  1. Hi Katie! I'm your newest follower by the camp fire. We met yesterday on the conference call. I wanted to check out your blog and I must say, I LOVE it! Great writing, wonderful point. I'm quite the fan. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure we'll be staying in touch.

  2. I cried from this entry. I know when I next gather around the fire to make s'mores I too will think of those same youth and YOU. I will miss you all.