What are you diffusing?

“Hey, Anth, what’s that smell in here? It’s wonderful!”

A few minutes earlier the Preacher and I had entered the door of our son’s house. I’d noticed the fragrance wafting through the tidy space instantly, but waited until after his and Kelly’s warm welcome until I asked about it. They live two provinces over, after all. In-person visits don’t happen often, and the Preacher hadn’t met Kelly yet.

But I HAD to know about that scent. Subtle. Graceful. I looked for a candle, but saw none. Nor did I notice a plug-in room deodorizer. And a spray, at least any that I’ve ever used, dissipates quickly. It puzzled me.

When I finally asked, crazy to know, they laughed. Pointed me to the source. Placed discreetly behind a vase of alstromeria and daisies stood an unremarkable, rather peculiar-looking object. A low circular vessel, flattened a little, like a deflated ball; wood-grained, with a small hole in the top from which rose a barely visible plume of steam-like fragrance. It swayed and curled with every current of surrounding air.

I’m a little behind in the essential oil trend, so I didn’t realize its identity. “It’s a diffuser,” Kelly explained, likely noticing my puzzlement. “Tony gave it to me for Christmas. We fill it with purified water, add a few drops of essential oil, and just plug it in.”

For our entire visit, several pleasant days, the fragrance remained, a sweetly subtle welcome upon every entry, an invisible accompaniment to every meal and conversation. It followed us to bed. Greeted us on waking.

During our visit, Anthony took me to the store where he’d purchased the oils and diffuser. Today the same fragrance* wafts through my home too. It calls back our time together and brings a smile.

A fragrance (or stench) rises from our lives too. It follows us wherever we go. Some people can’t enter a room without someone in that room sensing joy and contentment, peace and love; others do the same and in comes discontent and bitterness; rancor and stress.

God intended followers of his Son to be his diffusers here on earth. Into our emptiness, he pours Living Water – his very self. He anoints us with the oil of joy, plugs us into the Holy Spirit. Every day his incomparably sweet fragrance reaches someone nearby. Occasionally they ask: “What’s that I sense about you? Where’d you get that peace?” Then we have joy of taking them to our Source. Of pointing them to the Son of God who loved them enough to die for them and freely gives all that to those who make him Lord of their lives.

Father, fill me with the water that satisfies my spiritual thirst, and make me fragrant with love, joy and peace. And when I lose sight of you, when I forget to plug into the Source, call me back to your encompassing, compelling love. Amen.

(*for those who wonder: lemon and vanilla)