what is the smell of love?

I went to see my OB today. Really he’s my GYN. He dropped his OB years ago, shortly after my second son was born. But I think OB conjures up warm and romantic connotations versus GYN. The person who delivers babies is wonderful and heroic. The one who does your pap smears is just necessary. So I prefer to call him my OB, not because it changes what I think of when I talk about him, but so the people listening to me can associate the same things with him as I do.

My doctor always gives me a hug at the end of my appointment. That may sound awkward or creepy, but I assure you it is anything but. I don’t know what kind of cologne he wears, but after that hug, I can smell him the whole rest of the day. I love it.

This man is one of the most loving, caring souls I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He delivered two of my sons. He even remembered when he came in to deliver son #2 that we had been doing that same thing together exactly three years prior (my first two sons have the same birthday). And for as many babies as this man has delivered, I think it quite impressive that he would remember the date of one of mine.

He is good at what he does, I mean really, exceptionally good. I know nurses who have worked with him and they all love him and respect him at the same time. I am sure he has some patients who don’t realize how great he is, but that is hard for me to imagine.

Every time I see him, he tries to tell me that I am special, and now that I have read The Shack, I think of it in that way….that he is especially fond of me…the quantity of who he loves not taking away from the quality or intensely personal nature of the love he gives. He loves and cares for each patient out of his vast knowledge and seasoning through his many years in his field. Never the less, he accomplishes his task of making me feel loved and special every time I see him, and that is why I love smelling like him the rest of the day.

Today I was reading the grace chapter in Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller while I was in the waiting room. Miller talks about how difficult it can be to let God love us, and I can so relate to what he said. Until God met me on my driveway a few years back, I am not sure I had ever received God’s love. Believed in it, yes. Hoped in it, yes. Worked for it, absolutely. But if I was receiving it, I was only doing it on a surface level while maintaining a thousand different activities that helped me to think I was making it easier for God to love me.

But by “helping” God to love me with all the “right” things I was doing, I was cheapening my understanding of that love. God’s love is personal and enormous and all encompassing and for those who have no legs to stand on. So when my legs didn’t work anymore, God met me on the cold concrete of my driveway. It was full and complete and separate from my religion. It did not make my life roses after that, but it is an incredible thing to be loved – really and truly and fully loved – in the reality and mess of who I am. Not a “let’s clean you up and then you might be presentable and I will love you” kind of love but a “I am giving you a hug even though you’re covered in your own vomit” kind of love.

And that is why I love seeing my OB and smelling like him all day afterwards. I don’t know if you realize this, but having a baby is ugly business, which is weird because somehow all that ugliness transforms into one of the most beautiful experiences of your life, but make no mistake – it is ugly. And my doctor has seen my ugly business and loved me through it. And so he reminds me of God…and echo, if you will, of God’s love for me. I love it. I soak it in. How good it is to be loved, and how wonderful to be able to receive it – to really take it in to the depths of my soul – and to smell it for the rest of the day.

So I wonder…what does love smell like to you?

14 thoughts on “what is the smell of love?

  1. Kelly says:

    Smells like the support of friends that listen and care. Needed this tonight. Could use some female support and if you have any time I would love to get together! Thanks for your honest words

    • itsakoolife says:

      Thanks for your encouragement, Kelly! So glad to hear this hit the spot. Being really listened to is such a big deal, isn’t it? Wanna meet for coffee around 10ish? Where do you live? I will try to connect via facebook, too.

  2. carrie wang says:

    Beautiful, Rebecca…absolutely beautiful.

  3. Jacqueline Hee says:

    Loved reading this Rebecca! 🙂 please keep writing.

  4. Carri Butler says:

    Rebecca, you are truly gifted. You not only write well, but you touch the soul of the person (me) reading it. I can relate to this so well. I wish you were right here, I truly treasure you. Carri

  5. Kristal Johnson says:

    Love smells like freshly brewed coffee on a Saturday/Sunday morning. I don’t drink coffee, but the smell always reminds me of a warm embrace. I needed this post. Constantly wondering about God’s love for me. Beautiful Rebecca!

  6. karenscandles says:

    Wow!! It’s hard for me to pick a place to start to comment without writing a blog of my own! lol…I’ve heard it said that the best movies are those that get you thinking and talking…this is EXCELLENT writing-gives me so much to engage with that prompts my thinking which makes me want to pick up the phone & chat!! oh…I did that! Keep it coming!!

    • itsakoolife says:

      You are too funny! Thanks so much. I am so glad you found something to engage with here. I appreciate your feedback and you are welcome to write a blog-of-your-own comment here anytime! 🙂 Thank you, thank you for the words of affirmation!!!

  7. Susan says:

    Wow! So needed to read this today! I struggle with really believing that God can love me right where and who I am. Thanks, Becca, for sharing your way of seeing life…it is truly inspiring to read and I just am always wanting to read MORE of your thoughts and insights! God has truly blessed you with a unique gift of writing and I am anxiously awaiting your book!! As to what love smells like to me…my kids, right after a bath and my hubbie’s cologne – which they all wear!!

    • itsakoolife says:

      Susan! I love hearing from you here! Thank you for appreciating and I am so glad my writing can be an encouragement that you are not alone and that God does love you indeed! I love your smells – I can see your boys putting on their dad’s cologne and feeling so proud and grown-up! 🙂

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