My husband has recently discovered that he likes anchovies. He has taken to asking for extra anchovies on things like pizza. For Christmas I tracked down a tube of anchovy paste, something that looks like a toothpaste tube, and he spreads it on his toast in the morning.
The tube is in the fridge. I wouldn’t say that it is a smelly tube, or that when I open the fridge door, a waft of anchovy smell floods out, but there is some kind of smell exchange going on.
My lunch the other day consisted of a tin of soup, a pot of yoghurt and a pear. The soup was untouched by the smell of anchovy, but the pot of yoghurt, not the yoghurt itself, just the pot, reeked of anchovy, and the pear, which hadn’t been in the fridge, but had nestled up against the yoghurt pot in my lunch bag, also stunk of anchovy!
The fragrance of anchovy was everywhere lunch connected – on the yoghurt pot, on the pear and on my hands! I don’t like anchovies!
One could move on at this point to talking about the woman who broke the alabaster jar and poured perfume over Jesus’ feet. The fragrance filled the room and clung to the fabric of everyone’s clothes. People were marked out, not by anything they said, or did, but by the fragrance that they had been with Jesus.
The fragrance that seems to mark me out these days is sorrow. This week sees the final hurdle, my brother Mike’s memorial service in Rugby. Few of the family were able to travel to Fuengirola for Mike’s funeral and cremation so a memorial service has been organised for family and friends to say their goodbyes. Joe and I still have travel arrangements to make but we will be there.
I would like to think that this memorial will mark the end this year’s difficult time, but I think that would be naïve. Sorrow doesn’t seem to be a clean or precise emotion that is attached to a single event, but much like the anchovy paste in the fridge, it has touched all sort of things and permeated them particulalry in my relationships with firends.
It feels like sorrow can be a lonely road. Prolonged sorrow changes a person and the way he or she look at things. I am still on that road and looking for a way out. Is there a short cut I can take? I don’t actually believe in short cuts. As much as I would like the sorrow to end, I believe that there is precious treasure along the path to collect. By finding a quick ay out, I don’t get to claim the treasure.
I might have longed for the company of more people to walk with me and to comfort me along the way…but God has never been absent. His fellowship has been always sweet. His fellowship has been my treasure.