Since my family and I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, we frequently vacation in San Antonio, especially when my kids were very young. San Antonio is less than a three-hour drive from Corpus, so it was an easy, inexpensive vacation that our kids enjoyed.
One memory that my first born son, Isaac, has layered in his mind from years of visiting San Antonio is the Scentchips Shop. This shop located just off the Riverwalk has been around for almost 40 years. And it so happens to be one of my son’s favorite Riverwalk experiences–smelling all the different fragrant candle scents.
We have probably not been back to this local shop in a few years, so when we recently came upon the store, my son’s layered memories rose up like the warmed scentchips themselves. I could tell that his childhood recollections were re-establishing themselves in his now teenage mind. I was honored to watch his nostalgia come alive and stood in awe of how his life is rare and extraordinary.
No one will ever have the same reaction he did about the scentchips at that moment because only he took the steps of life to get there. Many people have visited that shop, but his reaction was unique and tailored to his experiences alone.
So many times, people try to pigeonhole life experiences and group situations into easily manageable parameters. But that is not real life, and that is not how God works. God is the masterwriter, and every life is worthy of individualized attention and care. There is nothing wrong with offering suggestions based on experience, but to say we really know what another person is feeling or going through is a major disregard to the steps she or he has taken to get there, not to mention a deep downplay of God’s creativity.
God loves those special moments with His children that seem ordinary from a distance–those brief flashes of time where He brings the scents of the past into the present and emotions fill the heart with gratitude and awareness of God’s goodness and presence. God is with us at every moment.
I see God presence moving in my son’s thoughts and emotions and how he sees the world. His young life already has its own sweet flavors, and God’s love for him warms the collective scents of his experiences to rise up around him. I am glad I could be there to capture it, like a fragrant memory in my own heart.