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?