Beryl Singleton Bissell


From the author

Competition for five signed copies results in six winners

January 14, 2008

In early December, I announced a winter contest in which five lucky competitors would win a free signed copy of my book, The Scent of God. To enter, you needed only to send me an email and to include a few sentences about what you thought the title of the book meant.

When these entries began flooding in, a vast landscape of readers’ comments opened before me – I received entries of all sizes from one sentence to essays, even some poetry. Some entrants’ perceptions were distinctly sense oriented: the scent of incense and candles, the smells emanating from grandmother’s kitchens, the pheronomes of moths and butterflies, spring storms and winter woods, the cologne the priest used, the scent of the priest himself and of forbidden love. Scent was compared to God’s fingerprints and to humor and to emotion; it was attributed to God’s own sense of smell and how God might smell if he were human. It was applied to persons and events permeated with God’s scent, and to memories of having experienced God. Finally and closest to my concept of the title: the yeaning that drives persons to pursue divine love throughout life.

The title, The Scent of God, was given to me by my beloved writing friend Virginia who, over lunch one day, told me that as long as she’d known me I’d been on a passionate search for God, like a hound in pursuit of an elusive scent.

When I began this contest, I had no idea that selecting winners from the hundreds of perceptive, novel, and beautifully written comments would become an exercise in joy and torment. Hours spent pouring over entries resulted in 26 definite winners, requiring several more readings to narrow the list and resulting in six winners rather than five. I have the six winners’ permission to share these entries with you.

“My guess is that "the Scent of God" refers to the invisible allure that draws us forward in our search for spiritual fulfillment. Sometimes I feel like a moth flying in an erratic path trying to hone in on the scent of God. I seem to be flying in circles, but I'm really following an invisible trail that only I can barely sense. The unexpected twists and turns are promptings from the Holy Spirit that come in the form of an unexpected scripture or the unusual books that "randomly" appear in my life. Each one delivers a quiet epiphany that leads me forward to a new discovery, ever closer to the One I seek with all my heart.” -- Curtis M, Torrance CA

“For me, the sense of smell is so illusory. Often times I'm sure I'm smelling something, and it turns out to be something entirely different. And I was so sure. Also, aromas are often elusive; very intense at first but quickly fades away. Similar to my experience with God. My spiritual journey has had moments or flashes of intense joy and peace, but for the most part is a path of low voltage lights strung along. I imagine your title refers to your olfactory experience with the divine.” -- Stephanie Cull, Concord OH

“I think the title "The Scent of God" refers to experiencing God in all His fullness. I'm not certain, at least based on what I've lived out in my 50 years (just turned 50), that in our puny humanity we can ever fully experience or know God here on earth. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there have been oh so many times that I have experienced His closeness, His presence, during times of great pain, great sorrow, and great joy, & great blessings. So, I think "The Scent of God" is just that, the experiences and the times we 'feel' God's presence.” -- Kay Martinez Lubbock, TX

“The scent of God is, without doubt, humor. I’m not sure what humor smells like, but if God’s finger is stirring one’s life, there will be, like humor, a gentleness, a tweak of one’s cheek and absolute clarity that it is God who has decided to intervene. For example, a middle-aged lady appeared at my front door recently and asked $10 to repaint my front curb number which was weathered and needing refurbishment. I almost said no because I was under the weather that day and preferred to just keep lying down, but I acquiesced. Some ten minutes later I walked outside to observe her work, and I told her that I was under the weather but that I was suddenly feeling better and that she “must be my good luck charm.” Without hesitation, she responded, “Oh, no, that’s just Jesus doing his thing.” I laughed and had to agree.” – Keith Eckrich, Albuquerque NM
“My best guess would be that it has something to do with a personal quest to find one's own singular purpose for existence - "God's will for my life", I guess you could say. My personal quest to fill that void can often be described as following the scent of God. Sometimes the scent is strong and I know I'm heading in the right direction. Other times it's very faint or simply gone, and I am sort of desolate and lost. It can be elusive. At any rate - that's my completely uniformed, off-the-wall answer!” -- Christine Harris, Little Rock, AR
“The Scent of God" refers to a state or situation in which we somehow know that God is nearby, more spiritually nearby than at other times. The scent is perceived through a variety of our own senses and our heart, intellect, and spiritual awareness. We may perceive it in solitude, but it is particularly sweet when at least one other special person is around to share it. And when we detect the Scent of God, it is the closest thing to experiencing God's love.” -- David Mukai, Bel Air MD

The books are now in the mail, winging their way across the country. Thank you all – those who are reading this newsletter and those who submitted entries. You have given me such great joy and an enhanced insights into just what The Scent of God might mean.

Happy New Year,

My Work

The collision of human love and faith
An impetuous move to Lake Superior transforms a life
While writing The Scent of God
"Seven Years in Hell"

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