In yesterday’s post, I shared an article I wrote for (in)courage, entitled The Weeping Of The Evergreen.
To continue the theme of fragrance in suffering, I thought I’d share a couple excerpts from my book Song of Rebellion, Volume II of The Livingstone Library to illustrate a fantastical allegorical principle of the beauty of fragrance. You’ll see that the same hailstorm inspired both writings! This excerpt is from the chapter The Color and Sound of Fragrance.
As the shadows deepened, the inhabitants of the forest took on a frightening mask. The colorful shrubs became grotesque cowering goblins ready to pounce on her. The trees became rough deformed giants with tentacles reaching out to snatch her. The silence of the songbirds put a foreboding in her heart as the forest became as quiet as a cemetery. The boulders were tombstones and the natural crevices of the gullies between the sloping forest hills became open graves waiting to swallow her alive.
Suddenly the sky grew green and stormy, and a large clap of thunder bellowed from the silence. And then the rain started. Tina huddled next to a rock, but it could not shield her from the cold wet sheets of rain that drenched her. Next she heard a pelting in the leaves above her head. She looked up and something cold landed on her face, then another and another. Then the sounds became more harsh as the hail stones became larger. One bounced off the rock and hit Tina’s head. She howled in pain and covered her head with her hands as the pea-sized hail rained down around her, stinging her tender flesh as it struck her over and over again. . .
“May I help you?” said a voice that seemed as lovely as the forest seemed hideous.
Tina lifted her face and saw a woman looking at her with eyes that could really see. Suddenly Tina saw herself as the lady must see her, and for the first time in her life she felt ugly. The first thing someone should do when they feel ugly is to find someone else who is uglier and direct attention to them. Don’t you agree? So Tina declared petulantly, “Yes, Miss Bottie has lost me, and my father will be very angry with her if I am not returned quickly. Can you help me find my way home?”
“Yes, I can, but you have to go away before you can go home,” the kind rescuer said quietly. She offered her hand to Tina, and led her up a steep embankment to a smooth trail at the top. Tina noticed that suddenly the forest was brilliant with sunshine, which reflected off the water droplets and remaining ice crystals to create an illuminating sight. The flowers, refreshed from their shower lifted their faces to their source of light, and the birds crept from their nests to announce the news that the storm was past.
Tina was amazed at the difference of the forest. It had gone from being a place of dark and dreary despair to one of peace and hope. As Tina walked beside the woman, a fragrance wafted through the air. “It smells like Christmas,” Tina said in awe.
“Yes, my dear. It is the weeping of the evergreens.”
“Why are they crying?” asked Tina.
“Because they have been beaten and bruised by the hail storm. Their broken needles have released their fragrance.”
“Yes, it was a wicked hail storm,” said Tina fiercely.
“It is hard to endure the harshness sometimes, but the patient evergreen shows us the beauty of endurance. We would never know the fragrance of their suffering if the hail had not released the perfume.”
The strange words did appear to be true. The fragrance grew stronger and stronger until the forest grew alive with it. It tickled Tina’s brain when she inhaled the fragrance. It seemed to wash over her mind in waves of cleansing with each breath caressing her with the fragrance.
Tina’s eyes seemed to be playing tricks on her. Everything in the forest was taking on a shimmering emerald hue like the haze one imagines in a desert mirage. Then the haze seemed to become shapes of floating shimmering vapors all over the forest, rising like bubbles, floating on the fragrance of the evergreens.
The vapors seemed to collect the diffused particles of the fragrance of the evergreens, to join together to make something new, just as when two invisible hydrogen atoms join with an invisible oxygen atom to create a water molecule. When the shimmering vapors gathered the evergreen fragrance, a swirling slow motion hurricane occurred before the bubble burst, as though it couldn’t contain the chemical explosion. It didn’t burst into destruction, but it burst into a shout of acclamation. Then the bubble quickly reformed as the fragrance, now a colorful sound wave, streamed through the air like a brief comet with a rainbow tail.
Tina watched this symphony of joyful fragrance occur over and over again. She had never known that fragrance had a color or a sound, but she knew she would never be able to crush the needles of an evergreen without seeing and hearing the fragrance of suffering. Too soon the concerto was diminishing to a pianissimo, a decrescendo of delight, and then suddenly they emerged from the forest to see a beautiful tower on a knoll. (Excerpts from Song of Rebellion from the Livingstone Library, copyright 2009 Shari Popejoy)
So. . . did you know that fragrance had a color and sound?! It does when it’s symbolic of the trials and challenges being changed into joy and victory!
Perhaps you have been bruised and battered by the choices you have made. Perhaps you have been assaulted by the wicked choices of others, or the cruelties of the accidents of the storms of life. Perhaps you have experienced the deep pain of lost or waning love in your marriage relationship.
If your life weeps with the pain of imperfection, do not run away in fear. There is a fragrance of suffering that brings healing. Take a moment today, to allow the healing grace of God to collect the fragrance of your pain, just as he collects each tear (Psalm 56:8).
Allow God to redeem that pain, create a soothing balm, and anoint you with a healing oil of restoration as He bathes you in the fragrance of suffering, which results in the joy of perfection.
Take a deep breath. Inhale. Doesn’t it smell like Christmas — or Easter (the fragrance of Easter tomorrow!)?