The aroma that invites (or, what I learned in a candle store)

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

It was ironic, really, the place where it came. In the fall of the year, we’d made our annual trek. It was what we did. It was how we prepared for the onset of autumn, for Thanksgiving.

Walking by the storefront, one could catch it–the fragrance of hundreds of candles. Carried along on currents unseen, it beckoned, invited. It drew you right in. Said comfort. Said beauty. Said warmth.

That’s what the candles said.

Even the boys, from the big, strapping ones right down to Mr. Little, enjoyed it. Hitting the store, we’d fan out and get started, hunting the four perfect scents. A large-scale “scratch and sniff,” only without any scratch, that’s what commenced when we landed.

“Smell this.”

“Yeah, that’s good.” Or, “Nah. I like this one better.” One by one, shelf by shelf, doing research.

I can still see him, that stolid store official, manning his post on that day. Looking back, the impression that comes is an unsmiling presence.  An old Western storefront. It’s there. You can see it, but there’s not much behind it. Windows dark, store’s empty. Light’s missing.

Thanksgiving came. Thanksgiving went, and back we trekked to the store. And there he was.

I remembered the man, brows drawn, countenance brooding, and I could tell he remembered us, too. We did what we do. We sniffed candles. We laughed. We drew that fellow right in, and it seemed that something eased in his spirit. Light’s warming.

It’s January now, and Christmas candles are gone. So on a Saturday night, I find myself there, walking back into the store. And there he is.

Seeing me, his face…oh, his face, it lights up, huge smile shining like, well, like a thousand of his candles. And he’s waving.

I can’t help it. My heart responds, and now I’m waving, too, smiling back at this now-friendly man. Light’s drawing.

“Where are the rest?” He remembers. It’s the fragrance, I see. And when he says, “How was Christmas?” I tell him.

Tell him all about our racer who’s far overseas. Where he’s at, where he’s been, what he’s doing.

He’s riveted. Enthralled. He’s drinking it in, hearing tales of our son on a beach. Light in darkness.

“He loves people,” I say to the man who is listening, this man with no kids of his own. “He loves people, he loves the Lord, and he feels that God’s called him to go over there on this mission.”

We’re finished now, and he’s ringing us up. And this one more thing, yet, the man says. “Maybe you’ll have more stories the next time you come back.”

We walk out of his store, and I know that I know that I know what a hungry heart needs. He needs love.

He needs love. He needs light. He needs to see hope. Longs for meaning, for purpose. For joy. Love’s own fragrance.

There in a candle store, I remember it again, that we are the light of the world. On currents unseen, the aroma, it beckons. Speaks comfort. Says warmth. Draws them in. Sweet aroma.

“But thanks be to God Who always leads us in triumph in Christ and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Cor. 2:14).”

Cities set up on hills. Houses all lit from within. Shining light, flame burning in darkness. Sweet savor.

This is us. This is me, that’s you and it’s Him. So shine bright, my friend. Emit His aroma.

The world’s waiting.


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