So, this turned up in my stocking this past Christmas:

I love it, but it comes with a story that is difficult to tell.

You know how they say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory? I’ve always felt that to be true, don’t you? Anyway, this philosophy bath cream also showed up in my stocking a few years ago, and opening the top for the first time in the shower a few weeks ago sent me back in time.

It was January 7, 2008, a few weeks after Christmas, and I was standing in the shower at the Venetian in Las Vegas. We were there [among other reasons] to celebrate Lee’s birthday, which was the next day. But on this morning, I was standing in the shower crying. We had just discovered that our latest [was it the 4th? 5th? it all runs together eventually] round of fertility treatments had been a bust. I was frustrated. I was sad. I felt as though God had handed me a rotten lot in life.

You would think, given the sad [and yet automatic] association I have with this particular scent, that smelling it again after all this time would make me sad. But it doesn’t. Because, as you know, the epilogue to that day in the shower is that a little over ten months later, Mary Bullock was born. She is [I know! YOU KNOW!] the light of my little life.

If you’ve ever had a miscarriage or struggled with fertility and then had a child, I’m sure you know how this feels: every day with her is miraculous. When I look at her, I am daily, minute-ly, reminded not only of the miracle that is human life, but also of how God miraculously turns pain into joy. Just like that. Not on my schedule, of course, but on His.

And that is what I think of when I smell this smell, which is called [what else?] Grace.  I remember the pain, yes, but mostly I remember that after that came joy of the sort I had never envisioned.

I can always use that reminder.


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