I have a handicap. It’s not obvious, and it’s certainly nothing for which I’m going to get a special license plate, a placard on my rearview mirror, or a closer parking spot. In many ways, it doesn’t drastically affect my daily life. And sometimes, I even forget about it. So what’s wrong with me? Well, today, February 18, 2016 marks six years since I lost my senses of smell and taste due to a traumatic head injury.
I know that not being able to smell or taste is drastically different than not being able to see, or hear, or walk. And, I know I am blessed to still be alive. (In the past four years, I’ve seen many reports of others who suffered similar injuries and didn’t make it.) I don’t ever want to compare my situation to those kinds of losses. But my handicap still affects my life in deep ways.
The most profound effect losing my smell and taste had is that it makes me more keenly aware of what I used to take for granted. I desperately miss the smell of my wife; her lotion, the way her hair smells right after she washes it. I miss the smell of clean sheets or fresh laundry. I miss the smells and tastes of the meals that Lisa so lovingly prepares for our family. I can't share an ice cream cone with my son and know how good it is. It saddens me to think that I won’t be able to smell my daughters on their wedding day, or taste the wedding cake.
Believe it or not, I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for me. I know I am blessed beyond anything I could ask or imagine. I’m saying this to remind you to not take the little things for granted. God has blessed us with wonderful ways to sense and interact with our mates. Everything—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—helps us to better connect with our spouses. Through shared sensory experiences, couples can build intimacy, elevate communication, provide comfort, and find greater joy in marriage.
So, let her know she looks beautiful to you. When he comes in stinking from a long day, let him know how much you appreciate his hard work for your family. Make sure she hears your love in words that affirm her to her very core. Thank him for being “the grill-master” as you savor every bite. Thank God when you gently stroke her hair, or she holds you close, or you share loving touches together.Let your senses awaken an appreciation of your mate you haven’t considered before. Please, don’t take it for granted. I would give anything to smell my wife again.