"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." John 12:3
It's a known fact that being in close proximity with others often leaves something behind. Whether it is a comment, a thought shared, or a tone of voice, we leave lasting impressions on one another.
When I was eight years old, my grandfather signed me up for piano lessons with an African American, middle-aged woman, in Harlem. She had a studio on 116th street and 5th Avenue. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a long narrow room with Baby Grand pianos lined up against the circumference of the walls. The pianos were worn, but they played beautifully. Sometimes there would be a student on each bench playing their notes. Those lessons were five dollars an hour. I didn't know it then, but that was a steal of a price!
Although I don't recall her name, I do remember what she left behind. She wore the reddest lipstick I had ever seen and costume jewelry flanked her neck as it hung down the middle of her breasts. She always wore dresses. What I will never forget is that awful smelling perfume. It was as if she bathed in it. It was loud, and strong, and overwhelming to say the least. It nauseated me. It was hard for me to concentrate because my stomach felt sick. I had to endure this every week. I guess I got use to it, because I did learn how to read the notes and play piano.
By the time my grandfather returned to pick me up, paid her the five dollars, and asked how I was getting on, I would run to the black winged Dodge parked out front. What I noticed was that the smell of her perfume lingered even in the car. I couldn't get that smell to go away. I opened the windows in hopes that it would dissipate, but it clung to me. I could even taste it. Every week for one hour, she left a lasting impression on me and it was mainly from her perfume.
What lasting fragrance are you leaving behind when others walk away from your presence? Are they inspired, refreshed, encouraged, or strengthened?
Mary left such an impression on all who were in her presence that day when she anointed the feet of Jesus. I'm pretty sure that as that odor of ointment filled the air, it sat on those in close proximity. That smell lingered and traveled where those who were a distance off caught a whiff of it.
What is the last thing a person recalls after we have walked away from them? What will they remember when we're gone? How did we make them feel in the process? Would they look forward to seeing or hearing from us again?
Yes, we all leave a fragrance behind that is directly connected to who we are. The question is, "What type of fragrance do we want to fill the atmosphere?"