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  • Smells Like Home


    Your home is more than your castle, it is the place where your best memories are made, where you learn to embrace those you love, and where you practice the work of listening, forgiving, and trusting each other. This is the place where goodness grows.
    Home, and the good things we’ve experienced there, can become a tender place in our heart. Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Our longing for home is something we hold dear, but also something we love to share. We want a bit of our story to make its way into our lives today. Sometimes a song, a feeling, a recipe, a game, or a tradition find their beloved place in our new home, and a bit of that ache for home finds its rest.

    preston smells like home

    Recently an elementary school teacher sent me a touching story. Every year I speak to hundreds of kids about bees, gardens, and community. They always ask good questions and share their enthusiasm for bugs and growing things. Kids understand so much. Sometimes I leave behind a gift of seeds or honey. A couple years ago I left behind a piece of honeycomb which has been on display in a classroom.

    This teacher wrote that one of her students, a young girl who came to Canada from another country, saw the piece of wax on a shelf and her eyes lit up. With broken english she shared a memory of her grandad. He has bees and she remembers how he would care for them. She would go with her grandad and help by holding the bee smoker. She loved helping. This girl remembers how her grandad would eat fresh honey with her and they would both laugh. Good memories were followed by tears as she told her teacher that her grandad is still there, caring for bees, while she is here. Carefully, and with tenderness, she picked up the honeycombed piece of beeswax I left and took it to her closest friends. She asked them to smell it “hard” because it smelled like her home, far, far away.

    Imagine this little girl’s strong emotions over the distance between her and her loving grandad, and the jarring pain of leaving. Imagine her joy in being able to help her new friends experience a bit of her home country by simply smelling some honeycomb along with her. Imagine the mix of joy and sorrow. Maya Angelou is right, the ache of home lives in us all.

    Our hope is not to chase away the achy-sweet memories of a home that is long-gone, but to find ways to bring the aroma of our memories out of hiding. When we tell our stories and share what we may have lost or deeply miss, we give a gift to others. When we invite others to “smell” hard and experience something special to us, we offer a gift. They get to be a part of making their home with us today.

    That little girl was brave to tell her story to her friends and welcome others into her story. Her friends now share in something special and love her more for it. May you remember the past and allow it to help you shape the present. May you live in the goodness of today and breathe deeply of every aroma. This is a gift worthy of sharing.