If you've read my blog with even nominal regularity, you may have picked up a theme. In March of 2009, I posted about my acceptance of the fact that my nostrils are larger than your average Jill's. Ever since then, my posts have almost always had something to do with things I smell, have smelled, would like to smell, whatever. My good friend Ben even pointed out to me that in my review for Relevant, I reference the sense of smell in "sniffing bags of green tea." Apparently it's become second nature.
Therefore I was thinking it would really be unfortunate to lose the sense of smell. There are so many good parts of life that I would miss out on without it. Well, I guess there are certain circumstances where I could do without smell, like after it rains and people mash worms on the sidewalk. Not pleasant. But there are other situations, say, Thanksgiving morning when the first thing that greets you in your bed is the smell of baking turkey wafting up the stairs, or the smell of balsam and sedum in a pottery store in Maine. Smell evokes memory for me. Just like hearing a song that you used to love in the 90s and you haven't heard it in a while - when you hear it again it transports you back to riding the bus (the smell of leather seats, sneakers and diesel fuel, anyone?) or riding with your mom to piano lessons (her perfume, Subaru seats, saltine crackers).
I don't think I could pick a sense that would be easiest to live without, but I think I could safely say that smell is the one I would be most devastated to lose. What about you?
I was thinking about all of this on the way into the post Office last week when a strong wind picked up neon orange and yellow leaves and scuttled them around my car. It was cool enough to catch the scent of fall - of dying leaves and crushed acorns and a world on the brink of freezing. The bells from the Presbyterian Church around the corner were ringing in the hour, muffled by distance and cold breezes. The sky was gray, not as ideal as the previous days where it was blue, but what was left of the technicolor leaves punctuated the dull atmosphere. Now I didn't taste anything, but all of the other senses were represented. If I were drinking a pumpkin spice latte, it would have been a package deal.
But there in the moment I realized how specially we're created. One of the major combatants against evolutionary theory for me is the intricacies that are linked with emotion. We are created to experience beauty but not just through sight but through smell, taste, touch, and sound. God cared enough to let His creation experience the pleasures of life in five distinct ways. If He didn't care, our existence wouldn't be nearly so intricate. I'm sure He could've provided us with gray landscape that we see but don't feel, food that we eat to survive but never taste.
Our five senses can also be used to experience pain in five significant arenas, which I imagine is a destruction of God's first intention of them but that is a consequence of living in a world that's gone wrong, a world vying for redemption. In the day of redemption, our senses will be redeemed as well. I can't imagine what beauty they'll take in and take in for an eternity.
Psalm 139:14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."