The fragrance of cinnamon reminds me of making cinnamon toast with my younger brother late at night decades ago. The aroma of gingerbread cookies baking reminds me of my mother. Today my husband and I are empty nesters in Florida. Our household aromas are mostly morning coffee, biscuits, and bacon.
On December 20th 2014 after a long illness of strokes, pulmonary disease, and dementia, my father passed away at age 90 in New Orleans. He was a pretty good dad who loved his 6 children and his 16 grandchildren. As a flight surgeon in the Air Force for several years, he seemed to be away more than present at home so when he was home I would sit in his lap after dinner soaking in his affection – and often his cherry tobacco pipe smoke too. I was 5 then. The distinctive fragrance of that flavor of tobacco would take me back there instantly.
Dad was a man of faith who had accepted Jesus as his savior at age 13 in a church in Pass Christian, MS. With six children, my folks had faced many lean times financially. He always told us – “the Lord will provide,” with each and every trial our family faced through 13 moves all over the country. Dad was a man of prayer.
For one year before his death, my relationship with him had been a bit strained over some family relationship issues. The morning he left this earthly realm, my brother in New Orleans called to let me know. I felt numb, and for some reason, betrayed. I had not had the chance to tell him goodbye. My sister was there, and she did. One of my brothers did. But I had not. That week I had had a houseful of guests in preparation for Christmas with little time for phone calls. For hours I was in a fog, feeling nothing.
At 4:00 pm that day, my husband and I went in our den and closed the door to pray and think. We prayed. We found a photo of Dad taken at our wedding. I wanted to post it on Facebook to honor him. As I was typing what I wanted to say about my father, the whole room filled with the strong smell and incense of cherry pipe tobacco – we could almost see the smoke! Tears filled my eyes; I broke down, and had a good cry on my sweet husband’s shoulder. I believe the Holy Spirit had given me the gift of this fragrance, assuring me that my father had indeed hugged me one last time, and had bid me goodbye – not forever, but just for now.
“Think of my prayer as sweet-smelling incense, and think of my lifted hands as an evening sacrifice. “ Psalm 141:2
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish”
2 Corinthians 2:15
Dear Heavenly Father,
I hope my prayers are like fragrant incense with a sweet savor. Thank you for my earthly parents and for pleasant memories. Thank you that you speak to each one of us in very personal and unique ways.