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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Lavender Grace
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The rain came down as a fine mist, just enough to brush my skin with moisture and dampen my clothes. I pulled further into the doorway, away from the curse of perpetual wetness that marked my new life. The rain intensified and I reached out a hand, watching as the dirt and grime of the street was washed away. Oh, that the weight of my troubles could flow away as easily.

I was free here, I reminded myself. Free to live my own life, unshackled by parental oppression. I was an adult! Why did they think they could rule me, dictate who I should become? That was my choice. Should be my choice. And now it was. I could be whoever I wanted out here.

As if in answer to my mental call, one of my new friends sauntered around the corner. Damien was confident and free spirited and everything I wanted to be.

“What are you doin’ here all alone?” He smiled at me in a way that made my heart flutter. “Come on. I know a dry place.” He held out a hand and winked.

I took it and we sauntered down the street. This was me! I had the cute guy, no matter if he had a tattoo snaking across his arm and his hands shook from want of a fix. If I didn’t like him, I could pick someone else. I had the power to do that.

We were nearing the basement hangout when the sudden scent of lavender assaulted my nostrils. Mom! I whirled around, searching for the source of her favorite perfume. A flash of anger filled me, mingled with fear. Was she spying on me? Come to rip away my freedom? Judge me for my choice in companion?

Damien grabbed me. “What are you doing?” He pulled me toward the nearby door. Tendrils of smoke slipped out, reaching for me, mingling the heavy sweetness of marijuana with the fading lavender.

He tugged me closer, but the smells filled me and I couldn’t breathe. I pulled away. “I’m sorry. I can’t.” I gasped for air. “And I’m not alone.” Those words surprised me as they slipped out, but I looked once more for Mom.

Of course she wasn’t there. Already the street was empty, Damien abandoning me with only a shrug. Just like Mom had abandoned me. Letting me come here. But no, this was what I wanted, right? I didn’t need her. Didn’t need her God always telling me I was wrong.

Did I?

I flounced away to find my own entertainment. There was a bar down the road. It would be dry. And noisy… And smoky…. Somehow I found myself back in my corner, alone, watching the rain. A verse came unbidden from a long-ago church song. Grace like rain falls down on me.

Grace. I’d forgotten that word, so focused on condemnation. Was there grace for me? More to the point, did I want grace? I pushed against the hard wall and felt the burn of tears in the back of my throat. Somehow that persistent scent of lavender was back, filling my nose, bringing memories I’d pushed aside. Memories of lavender hugs and laughter. Chats and…yes, and even acceptance. Undeserved. Grace.

Could I let it in? Would it fill that ache deep down inside? The ache that all the independence and freedom in the world couldn’t touch.

I was crying in earnest when I stumbled to my feet. My toes caught on the rough bricks as I moved down the road, pushing my way into the lobby of a corner store. I let myself pick up the pay phone and a little something deep inside broke as I dialed the number. Pain filled me, but somehow it was a good pain. The pain of the first step in healing.

A voice answered. A voice that sounded like lavender.

“Mom? I’m ready to come home.” I couldn’t understand my own words. But she did. Somehow she did.

I didn’t wait inside the dry store. I waited on the sidewalk and slowly lifted a trembling face to the dripping sky. Toward God. The wetness caressed me, wiping the grime from my face.

Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away; they're washed away.

The rain continued. His tears mingled with mine. Grace. It smelled like lavender.

Song lyrics from “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew

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This article has been read 1365 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes08/05/10
Your title intrigued me, as I love both the color and fragrance of lavender, but your story blessed me. Don't we all ask these questions at some point in our lives: "Was there grace for me? More to the point, did I want grace?" I'm glad your character decided she did! Excellent job of tying the scent of lavender with home, Mom, God's grace!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/06/10
This is a moving story. Oh that every run-away finds his way home again.
Patricia Turner08/09/10
A classically beautiful story of redemption, wonderfully written. That we could all be the fragrance of grace to someone.
Charla Diehl 08/09/10
Great story of redemptive love. So glad this runaway made the right choice and went home.
Mariane Holbrook 08/09/10
My favorite flower and one of my favorite attributes of God: His grace. This was a lovely story, no kidding!
Sarah Elisabeth 08/09/10
What a beautiful illustration of the amazing grace of God...and our parents!
Pat Guy 08/10/10
Well told and well written.
Lollie Hofer08/11/10
Beautifully written story, sort of a modern day prodigal son (daughter) story. I liked how the smell of Mom touched her heart and led her home.
Marita Thelander 08/11/10
A long time ago I was visiting a young friend for the first time in her home. I was her mother figure having lost her mom when she was 18. She took me in her room and had me smell a jar of Oil of Olay and then a lavender sachet. She said the Olay was her grandmother's scent and the lavender was her mother. When she would be lonely for them she would go and "smell" their fragrance.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/11/10
A wonderful prodigal-daughter story
Ruth Brown08/11/10
Beautiful story of Grace. Well done. Blessings, Ruth
Edmond Ng 08/12/10
A very nicely written piece reminding us of God's ever forgiving grace and presence even while we are astray. This story reminds me of a time when I stray, but God never once turned me away. Our God is certainly a good God who is always present to help and near even when we are spirtually faraway. Thank you for sharing this story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/12/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level and the top 30 overall.