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 for 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 a few perfumers in Australia. So I sat in my little room surrounded by hundreds 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, 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 ........... 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." 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, but it was a hurtful one, and not explained with much grace - the stupidity of youth!

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 nettle. That's how I have found it, for only rarely have I been wise or brave enough to grab onto the opportunities that come my way. So, life often seems filled with lost opportunities. "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 - an opportunity not to be missed.


[Pumpkin Cottage]