The fragrance of life


The motto of my father`s business was "It sells better if it smells better ". You see he was a perfumer by trade, and a good one at that. This, of course, was a very embarrassing thing to a young teenager. Gladly my father solved the problem for me by redefining his profession as a manufacturing chemist.

When I left school I started work in his factory as a trainee perfumer. At the time I didn't think much of it, but I was actually training in a very rare profession. Even today there are only about six perfumers in Australia. So I sat in my little room surrounded by thousands of bottles of essential oils, slowly learning each smell while learning how to blend them into fragrances of beauty.

Now the interesting thing is that some of the worst smelling substances go into the most beautiful perfumes. Things like civet tincture, commonly called concentrated odor of cat. Oh what a smell! Or even worse, butyric acid. This was used mainly in essence of butter, but in its concentrated state it smelt like .......... like. Well we would put it on the bottom of the shoe of any unsuspecting new apprentice who was sure, for the rest of the week, they had trodden in something. A smelly prank indeed.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to tell my father that I was not going to take over the family business. As Otis put it in "The Last Star Fighter", "we all get our chance in life and when it comes our way we have to grab it with both hands". Another pathway had opened before me and I could do nothing else but grab onto it. It was "the fragrance of the knowledge of him" - "the fragrance of life". Indeed it seemed a far better task to blend a perfume for an eternal pleasure than for a momentary sensation. I have to say it was one of the few decisions I have ever got right. A miracle indeed.

We don't always "grab it with both hands". Often the opportunities of life slip us by. We are too afraid to grab hold of the opportunity. We are too caught up in our pleasant lives. That's how I have found it, for only rarely have I been wise or brave enough to "grab onto it". Life seems filled with lost opportunities. Even if we do make an impact in our little corner of this planet, it is soon a memory lost. "All is vanity" as the preacher puts it, "a movement in the wind".

"The fragrance of life" is the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. In the end, it is that we need to "grab onto", for it is eternal.