As a mother of six beautiful children I can say that I have probably had the opportunity to smell some rather disgusting/ interesting things.
Baby puke has a distinct smell. The smell of a baby who had momma's milk or formula are completely different. I've had the opportunity to test this. Trust me! Then there is the smell from a baby eating solids. Not quite as gross as what you end up smelling while taking care of a sick kid with the flu but it is getting there.
I guess the same thing can be said of what comes from the other end. There are definite differences and at times I ask the child whose diaper I'm changing what they ate because the smell has such a fragrance.
Feeding a large family leads to certain other smells when you raise your own food. All of which should be avoided when you are in the first trimester of pregnancy as I found out when I was pregnant with Ruth and Leo.
I have to say one smell that makes my eyes water every time we pass it is drying cacao. Let me first describe how it is dried and then I will share the wonderful aroma with you. Cacao is used to make chocolate. Many people have some cacao growing on their farms to sell since they can get $3 a kilo for it. The cacao is then processed into chocolate in Pucacaca, a town 20 minutes away. When the cacao is red the people harvest it. They then eat the white flesh off of the seed. Once the flesh has been removed most people lay out black tarps in the road in front of their house. The seeds are then laid on the tarps to dry in the sun. Periodically someone turns the seeds to make sure they are dried completely. If the seed does not dry by nightfall they are gathered and kept safe until daylight to continue this process. It typically take two to three days to dry the seeds. Often times as you walk around town you come upon whole streets covered in tarps. Now for the best part- the smell. Cacao smells like a rotting carcass. Yes that's right. It smells like a rotting carcass. Who thought something so delicious as chocolate would come from such are horrible beginning. Not I. Just for the record I still eat chocolate the smell hasn't deterred me.
So you might ask me what could be worse than the smell of rotting flesh? What is this smell that absolutely terrifies you? What is the smell that send a shudder down you spine every time you smell it?
The smell of chaff burning absolutely terrifies me! This smell is very distinct. Now I know what you are thinking how can this smell be terrifying? Something burning how is that worse than the cacao drying? Let me draw your attention to Matthew 3:12 where St. John the Baptist is speaking to the Pharisees about Jesus. He said, " His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Before coming to Peru I didn't fully understand the intensity of this statement. You see I had never witnessed the burning of chaff when we lived in the states. The community in which we live here in Peru is a rice farming community. All around us are rice fields and there are many rice mills dotted along the road as well. As we drive to minister in our eleven pueblos it is very common to pass a rice mill. The smell of the chaff burning is the first thing to signal a rice mill is up ahead. Next you see the huge pile of chaff burning. It is always burning. The fire never goes out. The pile is always smoldering. As the pile grows with the new chaff it is also in the process of consuming it without fulling going out. The thought terrifies me. You see that is how John the Baptist describes hell. It has brought a whole other perspective for me.
Now you might be asking how do I avoid hell? Simple- Choose Jesus! Love Him first! Seek Him in all that you do! How do I do that? Love your neighbor as Your friend! Remember Jesus died for His friends! All of this might seem overwhelming but with Jesus it is all possible! With Jesus the smell is no longer terrifying because we are now in His Barn!