a throwback to a bygone era*, when at the full-service gas pumps

It could be that I’m the only strange one who has joy-filled recall that is, paradoxically, closely attached to unpleasant odors.  If you say the word, ‘lavender,’ my brain instantaneously forages through my library of memories, back to my British grandmother and her suffocatingly long bear hugs into her suffocatingly strong perfume. If you say the word, ‘diesel,’ I’m awash in fumes, waiting for the bus doors to open to take me to school. If you say the words, ‘pipe tobacco,’ I’m being cuddled on Granddad’s lap, leaning back on his soft flannel shirt that is reeking with smoke. Lest you consider me ‘completely’ off, I assure you that there are tons of good odors linked to joy scenarios, too. Just a few to mention: balsam firs, summer savory turkey dressing, mayflowers, freshly mown grass, clothes fresh from the clothesline (that dates me for sure!), Mum’s bread baking (who am I kidding? EVERYTHING in her kitchen!), maple sugar camps with huge vats of boiling sap, and many, many more! (what are some of yours?)

In my recent reading, an intriguing revelation has started the wheels spinning in my head. Quite simply, the author says: “God designed our brains to run on joy like a car runs on fuel.” Here’s my less-than-scholarly take: it seems that the presence of joy causes all things black/gray/white in our brains to burst alive in radiant color; the presence of joy is to our brains as drinking a glass of water is to every one of our body’s systems; the presence of joy is the ideal nutrition for emotional and spiritual health, as well as positive, relational connections and the building of community. I’m thinking, since God is our brain-design engineer, an emphasis on this all-important element should have been communicated to us. Turns out, He did a pretty decent job of it! One of my favorite passages is 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness .  .  .” (could that include joy?) David’s Psalm 16:11, cited again by Paul in Acts 2:28, and reinterpreted by one author says: “When Your face lights up because You are happy to be with me, You fill me up with joy!” (could smiling, friendly faces refresh joy in us?) Jesus, in John 15, assures the disciples of His, and the Father’s love: “ .  .  . that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Galatians 5:22 reveals: “But the fruit of the Spirit is .  .  . joy .  .  .”  (Holy Spirit produce, y’all!) John, in his third epistle says: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (could interpersonal relationships, community, and regular fellowship, be supplied sources of joy?) Can’t wait to see everyone for a refill, tomorrow at 10 AM.  PD

*with the exception of New Jersey where full service is mandated

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