“No!” Amelia cried as the fragrance consultant puffed her latest scent at our faces. Mili knocked me into the rack of sunglasses in her efforts to escape. I thanked God we weren’t in china and glass, as I watched several plummet to the marble floor.
“She’s allergic.” I shrugged, hoping my look was appropriately serious and not too amused. I crawled to retrieve the fallen glasses.
The twinkle in Mili’s eye turned to bubbling laughter as I struggled to return the errant pairs to their unhelpful stand.
“Thanks for your help!”
“No worries.” She giggled.
Myer’s Christmas after hours shopping evenings had become a tradition for us. Each year we ignored the pleas of husbands and housework, left the kids at home and nabbed some bargains while sipping on champagne and sampling tasty delights!
“Look! There’s another man with curry puffs, let’s chase him!”
My turn to laugh now, as Mili accosted him, and raided his tray.
“Now that you have food, can we do toys? I’m keen to get Christmas out of the way tonight.”
Mili nodded, and shoved the last half of her curry puff in, dabbing at the pastry flakes left behind. She made me laugh, but our relationship ran deep after 10 years of accountability dates. When I became a Christian, we met weekly to walk and share our deepest thoughts. Post kids, we were lucky to make it once a month. Tonight was a double date. Accountability and shopping.
“So,” we headed for the lift, curry puff finally devoured. “how are you and God?” Mili never was one for a lengthy lead in!
“OK, I think. I’m back to reading my Bible. I should have sent the kids to school sooner!” Mili smiled, knowing how I had struggled with letting them go.
“What about you?”
“Good. Been thinking about the fragrance of love.”
“Fragrance of love?” One raised eyebrow conveyed my bemusement.
“Remember the song ‘Let our praise to you be as incense’?”
“It’s about our worship being a fragrant offering to God right?”
“Right.” I held up a toy guitar for Mili’s approval. “Jaime?”
I added it to the trolley.
“Did you listen to the sermon at Kiera’s wedding?”
“It was mostly about kindness. When we are selfless in acts of love, I think that’s like a fragrant offering to God. I like to imagine my kindness producing smoke like incense, wafting its way up to the throne of God, where He sniffs its fragrance and looks lovingly down at me.”
“OK.” My mind was just beginning to catch up to her thoughts.
Mili headed for Thomas the Tank Engine as I pondered her words.
I recalled the wedding. Kiera had glowed. Her preparation and care were evident. Not a hair out of place, make up superb, perfect bride. We were meant to be the bride of Christ. Was I prepared? Was I clothed in a way that would light up Jesus’ face like Kiera lit up Greg’s?
I grimaced, remembering the way I’d yelled at the kids before I left because they hadn’t cleaned their rooms. The cursory kiss I’d given Tom as I’d rushed out the door. Not exactly a fragrant offering.
I liked the concept. It was encouraging, easy to picture. Mili had always been more visual than I. How could I make a fragrant offering of love to Tom and the kids?
The kids always wanted time, maybe a trip to the zoo?
Passing a mirrored surface, I thought about how I’d let my appearance go. Rugby tops and tracky daks were my daily staples. Maybe it was time to think about new clothes. I could even get my make up done. Mili would approve. She cared far more for appearances than I ever had. She would jump at the chance to make me over.
“Mili?” She turned, Harold the helicopter in hand. “How would you feel about going back to make up?”
Her eyebrows raised as she silently questioned me.
“I think I’m going to have a make over. Call it an offering of love.”
Catching on quickly, her grin burst forth.
“Let’s go before you change your mind. Tom will love this. And God knows what a sacrifice it is for you!” She laughed, knowing my tendency to disdain such frivolous endeavours.
“Maybe we can find that perfume girl and turn you into a truly fragrant offering!”
“Sunglasses beware!” We linked arms and headed our trolley for the lift.
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