This is part one of a two part series I gave as a meditative reflection at two recent events. Part 2 will be posted next week.
Take a moment and try this exercise.
Find a piece of your favorite candy or prepare a cup of your favorite drink. I love caramel and Starbucks Frappuccino’s, but you may love something else. When you have one of your favorite items prepared to consume find a place to sit and get ready to eat or drink your chosen item.
Close your eyes, think back on your life, and find a favorite memory – one where you were completely happy or content. It could be the first time you saw your future spouse? Or perhaps it was when you saw a unique natural vista or a favorite painting of an artist you love for the first time? Maybe your happy/content moment was a great conversation you recently had with a friend or a meal shared among friends when life’s cares were set aside for a time.
Whatever your memory is, go there in your mind and evoke all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that may have been there at the moment. After meditating on that moment for a short time, pop the candy in your mouth or sip your favorite drink and think about these words:
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Let this short exclamation stir in your mind as you see your memory and savor what you taste.
I have come to like Facebook. It has been a great way for me to communicate and keep in touch with people I would have not otherwise. Being an “out of sight out of mind” kind of person, Facebook helps me keep things in sight especially friends I love and cherish.
Recently a friend posted a link to a website that featured quotes from World War II General George S Patton on a variety of subjects. As I finished reading the quotes I noticed that the name of the website was, “The Art of Manliness”. Intrigued by the forthrightness of the site, I began to explore more. Not wanting to let my hygiene habits slip, I decided to see what “Manly” dress and grooming like was so I clicked the link and was further drawn in by a post titled. “6 Forgotten Drugstore Colognes and Aftershaves”.
Brut, Old Spice, Stetson were all listed, but what caught my attention was the first one on the list, Pinaud Clubman. Around since 1810, Clubman is the obvious “Methuselah” winner and the mainstay for most barber shops around the country. The age and the 19th century illustration of a dapper gentlemen interested me. So when I saw it on the shelf of our local CVS, I bought it.
When I got home, opened it and took my first sniff of Clubman my first thought was of my Grandfather. For some reason I thought of my Dad’s, Dad when I smelled Clubman, and I began to wonder if this is what Frank Irwin used for his grooming? There is evidence of smell and memory being closely united so I reveled in memories of my Grandfather and his wife, Dorcas as I sniffed the Pinaud Clubman.
In his book, God in the Gallery, Daniel Siedell asks the question, “Can one experience Truth aesthetically without knowing Truth cognitively?” He answers safely, “Perhaps”, but a firm “Yes” and “No” can be answered because of the unique complexities of that question.
Psalm 19:1-4 states:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voicegoes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
According to Hebrew Scriptures the very environment we walk and live in is speaking every second of every day and night. In fact, “Their voice goes out through all the earth”. So is it possible to walk through a day in this world and NOT hear it?
Author Dorothy Sayers once observed that if all we knew of God was Genesis 1:1 we’d know He was creative. I have met few artists that say to me that they are NOT trying to say anything in and through their art. Why would we expect anything less from God’s “art piece”?
Suppose we took a trip to the East Coast to meet the Sun as it rose over the Atlantic, what would we hear? Say we hopped into our super-fast vehicle and rode to the Appalachian chain by mid-morning to take in the Blue Ridge Mountains what language would they speak? By noon we find ourselves lunching on the Mississippi where between crunches we crane our ears to listen to the soft whisper of that old river to hear her language. What would we hear? As we pass through Denver mid-afternoon to grab coffee we pause in front of the massive, snow-covered Rockies which disappear out of our site and wait for them to say something to us…what would they say? To end our day we sit on the soft beaches of the West Coast to say farewell to the Sun we greeted that morning as it disappears into the Pacific…would there be any language spoken as it sinks?
 I accessed these websites from a quick Google search on “Smell and memory”: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/smell3.htm; http://www.macalester.edu/academics/psychology/whathap/ubnrp/smell/memory.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/science/05angier.html; http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2009/11/smell_and_memory.php
 Daniel Siedell, God in the Gallery, page 65
 Quoted in Dick Staub’s About You: Fully Human, Fully Alive, Jossey-Bass Publishers 2010