I get in the taxi, and before I can close the door properly, the driver says:
“I want to ask you something, but do not be upset.”
"Of course," I answer curiously.
“Did you eat borscht (traditional Ukrainian beet soup)?”
“No, I did not,” I say, trying to figure out why he would ask such a thing.
"When you entered the car, you brought the smell of borscht with you," he explains, amused but kind.
I review the last few things I did before entering the taxi. I really had eaten nothing, nothing at all. I had left in a hurry, throwing some fruit in my bag, bringing with me (as I was nicely informed) the aroma of the dinner I had just prepared.
“Can I ask you something? Are you hungry?” I said to the driver.
“Oh, yes, very!” he replied.
I apologized, getting ready to share my snack with him.
“You know, it was not because of hunger I asked you,” he said. “Every person who rides with me brings along a unique smell he or she probably does not even notice.”
It seems my taxi driver has a hobby, I think to myself, amused. I imagine how he takes in the smell of each client and tries to guess the story behind the aroma each one wears.
Actually, I myself am very sensitive to smells.
Recently, I was taking the trolley bus with someone who really had a stinky smell. This man was so aware of his “aroma” that he felt compelled to give an explanation. He worked all day repairing cars, and his clothing was permeated with the smell of gasoline or oil or other things from his work.
I once had a neighbor who had a unique smell -- of cigarettes and perfume -- both expensive. I could tell when she was there with my eyes closed. Even her dog had the same unmistakable odor, without exception, every time I met them.
I did not find it pleasant to know I smelled of borscht, but hearing that I did made me think. I would like to have had a different aroma -- a smell of love and joy, kindness and peace, gentleness and patience …
My taxi driver knew that the aroma we wear tells our story to those around us.
Like the borscht smell, aromas add themselves to us. We absorb them from our environment unknowingly, from what we look at and listen to. We take them in from the people we spend time with. If you work all day in the kitchen, you have to take some very conscious steps to smell differently from borscht.
Mr. Taxi driver, thank you for having the courage to ask an inconvenient question!
I'm not too fond of perfume. But I will tell you a secret. After that day in the taxi, every time I leave the house, I wonder, "How do I smell?" I've brought my favorite fragrance along and even used it. It's a good scent that reflects the generosity of my dear husband.
But what kind of smell do you wear? What history tells the aroma of your soul?
Father God, I want my life to please you. May the aroma of my life honor your name and show others your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Throughout this Day: Reflect on what 'aroma' you carry with you. How do your hobbies and the people you spend time with impact your aroma for the worse or better?
Photo Credit: Jeremy Zero on Unsplash