Life Delicious and Exquisite

2:33 PM

I just finished reading a book that I not only highly recommend, but will probably buy in the very near future just so I can periodically pull it out and lose myself in some incredibly good prose.

Coming to My Senses, by Alyssa Harad. 
A story of perfume, pleasure and an unlikely bride.

I found it in the Bookpage Kyle brings home every now and then so we can get ideas on what new books we might be interested in.  This was a new release and it sounded intriguing, so I requested it from my local library. It's a 14-day book, meaning I couldn't take all the time in the world I might want to savor it, but it truly is a book to be savored. Rushing this book does not do it justice.

And this is not a book review. It just served as a catalyst for some great memories, a new deep curiosity to look more intently into the world of perfume, a fresh appreciation for the art of really good writing which tends to be challenging to cull out from the hundreds of books released weekly, and an awakening of my own awareness of my own senses.  If all that has you curious, check it out.

Having literally just finished this book, all the way to the very last page, through the acknowledgements, lists of suggested further reading, blogs and websites, I feel like a kid standing on the sidewalk outside a chocolate shop, my hand on the doorknob, anxious to enter and lose myself in the glorious world of chocolate possibilities on the other side.

I am not very knowledgeable about perfumes, and I have grown up to think of them as precious treasures in glass bottles to be used on special occasions.  Alyssa Harad has completely transformed my view on perfume in that regard - stirring up memories and creating suggestions about the power and potential of what might lie within those glass bottles, just waiting to be released and exposed.

I don't own that many perfumes, but I hope that will change.
I think the beauty of scent is just one of the myriad things about life that is at once, both delicious and exquisite. Fleeting, lingering, changing, morphing, surrounding, transporting, transforming, empowering, enfolding, liberating and there no end to the words that can be used to describe the effect of perfume on us? 

It is thinking of perfume that makes me pause and savor just the pleasure that life is.
That life is intended to be.
I think, oftentimes, as a believer, a follower of Christ, fully armed with the knowledge of both good and evil in this world, we (I) are often hesitant to just throw our arms out and say how wonderful and beautiful life is, because we fear the fall of that other shoe, the inevitable bad news or disappointment that will surely emerge to darken our joy. How sad that is. How sad that must make our Creator who took the time to create this intricate, beautiful, imaginative world in which we live - for both His pleasure and our pleasure.  If His creation gave Him such joy and fulfillment and yes, pleasure, we, being made in His image, are intended - designed even - to fully experience that same measure of joy and excitement available in this life. 

When we tuck our heads down and doggedly endure the responsibilities and tasks and work that we feel is our lot in life without ever lifting our heads to smell the roses (both literally and figuratively), we squander the opportunity to fully engage the delicious and exquisite experiences this life has to offer. Why were we given tastebuds if not to savor and enjoy our food? Why ears if not to enjoy the beauty of a piece of music? Why eyes if not to marvel at a sunset or a painting? Why noses if not to use them to learn about the various scent possibilities abounding from sky to ground?Why the ability to feel things with our fingers if not to feel things with our fingers?

Small pleasures, such as the unexpected coolness of a mid-August afternoon. The shape of a green leaf on a tree branch. The firm smoothness of an egg shell.  The silky breast feather of a hen. An unopened bud of a flower, ripe with possibility. The rustle of trees gently blowing in a breeze. The buzz of cicadas creating an undercurrent of soundtrack on a sunny day. The wisp of hair tickling your cheek. The beauty of a gleam of sunlight reflecting off hardwood floors. The scratch of linen. The softness of a knitted blanket. The beauty of a mounded shrub nestled against a red brick house. The symmetry and asymmetry of nature. The tang of a sip of orange juice. The bitter explosion of an espresso hitting your tongue. The softness of a child's skin. 

Large pleasures, such as the birth of a child, the discovery of new love, the thrill of a kiss that still brings your blood to a boil after 13 years of marriage. The click of a camera capturing a moment worth remembering. The sound of a child reading for the first time. Piano notes played by a tentative, but determined hand. The explosion of a symphony that moves your very core.  A good book that inspires you and brings tears to your eyes.  A song that recalls hot summer nights when you were tanned and young and the possibility of falling in love was just around every corner. The moment you really did fall in love and first realized it.  An amazing kiss. The fabulousness of really great, mind-blowing sex.  A positive pregnancy test. The magical internal lumberings around in a womb by a well loved, yet unknown child that is yet to be born.  

There is no end to beauty in this life. In fact, beginnings of beauty lie all around us, if we only take the time to see. To smell. To listen. To feel. To smile. To sigh. To enjoy. To savor. To linger over and long for. 

Too often I find myself allowing an unvacuumed floor to steal away the whispers of joy that I should be experiencing. I choose to worry when I could do something more productive, like pray or meditate on the beauty of the Scriptures. We need more appreciation for life every day, and less criticism and censure and irritation and obligation.  It is possible to be the people we're designed to be, full of depth and enigma and complications and change, complete with the responsibilities and assignments, bills and car problems, and yet retain the head-held high, eyes alert, noses open and paying attention, hearts full, fill-me-up-like-a-sponge smile on our face that indicates we are ready for this life. For all its facets and glimmers. All its lights and darks. All its hints and whispers and promises and possibilities. All its beauty and fully experience, with the delight and enthusiasm of a toddler, 
just how delicious and exquisite, 
this life really is. 

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  1. Happy birthday, Ashley! Hope you have a wonderful day!!