The lotion bottle was sitting nearly empty among the crayons, paint, and other supplies. I had slipped into the supply room to grab some markers and paper for my prayer time on the retreat I was attending. At first glance, it went unnoticed. Then I looked more closely and discovered the cherry almond “original scent” words on the side of the bottle. My breath shortened and my heart skipped a beat. Could it be? I quickly dropped my markers and began to squeeze some of the forgotten lotion as the bottle gasped for air as I had just done myself. And true to it’s claim, the “original scent” of my grandmother’s silky smooth hands took me back to my childhood.
My grandmother’s hands are special not because of her lotion but because they have made a difference in this world. Her hands have prayed for me and my family devoutly over the years. Her hands cared for my own mother. Her hands helped the less fortunate. Her hands baked chicken casserole when we visited and nearly always burned the rolls each holiday (at least I get my cooking skills honestly). The lotion scent on my own hands brought so many welcome memories to mind about my grandmother’s caring hands. It was indeed a scent of my childhood and one woman who has had great impact on my faith and family. And then a bit of sadness swept over me.
Sadness came after the joy and those happy memories because it hit me that I don’t really have a scent (unless you count my deodorant). Surely that doesn’t mean I don’t leave a mark on this world as my grandmother has done. Will I leave my mark on this world even if I keep switching lotions to the one on sale or with the latest ingredients? Maybe I don’t have a scent because there are only 10,000 (give or take a few) choices in the lotion aisle these days and it seems I never return home twice with the same brand let alone an original scent. Part of the time, I just find something in my pantry. Maybe my scent is actually coconut oil. Anyway, I think a world of choice is wonderful, I do. Choices are a privilege and honor. I have to wonder though if in a way we can be losing ourselves constantly by all the changing scents and too many choices (can you tell I'm feeling overwhelmed just in the processing of this)? We are too often distracted and we can not even look to the lotion aisle for anything original. All these thoughts raced into my mind as I continued to smell the lotion on my hands and they brought me to one conclusion. My maker is truly what has made my grandmother an original...and me and you as well.
God’s love is our origin. Let’s use it to find our own originality and purpose in this life. Let’s find our calling and our identity in Him. The gift of understanding that God made each of us unique, original, and also in His image is our hope. Connecting with our creator that we each discover our originality and then share it with others is the mark we are to leave on this world through our own hands.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for creating me as an original in your image. Thank you for the unique gifts, talents and strengths you have given me in this life. Allow me to be who you made me to be through the ever changing roles I serve in this ever changing world.
God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. - Genesis 1:27 CEB
Whitney is a seeker, writer, teacher, retreat leader, and spiritual director. She truly believes that "the journey awakens the soul." Her journey currently includes being a mom and wife, offering spiritual care services, and writing for the Abingdon Women blog.
As a survivor of multiple health crises including melanoma skin cancer, stroke and brain surgery (by the age of 31), Whitney has learned to depend greatly on God as her strength and peace and to more fully embrace life's journey. She helps others explore peace in their own lives using ancient and modern tools and seeks to share the balance and benefits of a contemplative life among the realities of a fast-paced digital world. Whitney received Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation and is a certified lay minister and certified yoga instructor. She and her husband,Troy, and their son, Drew, live in a rural area east of Nashville, Tennessee. You can find out more about Whitney at her personal blog, www.exploringpeace.com.