Two or more good things about having a disability

I like to write about Jesus, His Word, and the things of the Word. But today I'll write a bit about me, and then turn it to Jesus.

I have a disability.

I can't smell.

I agree this is not a crippling disability, not one that hinders me in daily life as much as someone in a wheelchair, or a blind person for example. But not being able to smell does have its detriments.

As a teenager, my mother would not let me babysit because I could not smell danger- a fire, food burning, gas, et cetera. I also can't smell when a baby's diaper has to be changed! I never knew that farts smelled bad until I was a senior in High School. No one told me. I also never knew that cooking cabbage emitted a heavy, permeating smell, either. And so on.

As an adult, certain professions were denied me due to lacking this sense. Perfumer, chef, detective, chemist...

Even now, the lack of olfactory senses impacts me. When I cook I cannot detect when the food burns. I can't tell if a food has gone bad, like milk or the fish I buy. I have gas heat and the lack of being able to smell if there's a leak scares me constantly. I can't smell smoke or electrical burning which was a problem when the electrical wires in my car got on fire and is otherwise a general safety issue. I can't tell if my own clothes smell or not so I just wear them once and wash them to be safe. My trash can and the cats' litter box...I never know if they're stinking up the apartment and I worry when people come over.

Sometimes I get sad if I think about it, the pleasant things I've not been able to smell. A baby sweet smelling out of the tub. Mown grass. Bread baking The air after a rain. Flowers. So I don't think about it.

I can't complain too much. My day-to-day life isn't impacted tremendously, as it would be if I suddenly was confined to a wheelchair or was diagnosed with Alzheimer's or was born deaf or blind. I've never been able to smell so in one sense I do not know what I'm missing. But I am missing something and that perturbs me once in a while.

The Lord knew ahead of time very person He was going to create. The Lord knits every person in the womb. He fashions us to His specifications and plan. So He made me this way. He is good and perfect. I have to see the good in it. Here's the good:

1. He is protecting me. How? I'm autistic and I'm extremely sensitive to my environment. Light, noise, colors, and even my own clothes hanging on me, ply me with heightened sensations. They impact me through every molecule of my body. Not to mention the mental anguish I'd likely be feeling all the time. I understand that smell is often the trigger for memory recall which in turn raises strong emotions. If I could smell too? I'd keel over from overload much more often.

So I have to thank the Lord for protecting me and shielding me from what I know would be an overwhelming overload every moment of the day. If I could smell no doubt I'd also be undergoing an continuous scroll of memory playing on the screen in my mind, a roiling of emotions I wouldn't know how to handle, and there's enough of that already. So again, thank you, Lord.

2. It is a gift from the Lord, to me. How? The first thing I'll smell will be heaven. What a gift.  I'll go from zero to a billion quadrillion in one moment, a blink of an eye (or in this case, a twitch of the nose). I'll be able to smell whatever the Lord has designed for us and I'll never have to smell sewage, vomit, fecal matter, the trash can, body odor, or any other terrible smell. I'll be made whole in an instant, demonstrating His power and soon enough, the lack will be wiped from my mind and forevermore, my glorified body will be perfect. I can wait. What's a few decades of living with a disability when that great truth is on the horizon?

For those who love Him, He does good all the time, our whole lives from womb to grave. If you have endured a disability, and again, I know mine is minor compared to many other peoples', just know that the Lord made it this way for divine purposes. Since He is perfect, your part in it as is mine, is divinely ordained for our good and His glory. Look for the good in your situation and try not to dwell on the bad, the worrisome, or the frustrating. Dwell on the positive of your situation here and now and think of the good things that will come. Most importantly, see how you can glorify the Lord in it.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8).

As a lost person, it used to infuriate me when I saw on the news or something, a Christian praising the Lord for their cancer diagnosis, or forgiving the murderer, or thanking Him for some devastating thing most normal people rage over. I never could understand it. But that's the point. We are a people set apart, not of this world. We don't act like the world because we have the Light, and the world comprehends us not.

But Christians think of the things that are pure, and honorable, and just, and lovely. That means we think of Jesus. He gives the eternal perspective. He is worthy of praise, even in and through the disability.

Think about it.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that. We all have our "defects" that irritate us, but I, too, remember the scripture that God formed us in our mother's womb, so I have to accept that God formed me as He did on purpose and He doesn't make mistakes. I've learned not to compare myself to nor envy others, as outward appearances do not accurately reflect a trouble free life. God has richly blessed me, so I dare not complain over what may be trivial, for He is able to quickly humble me. I so look forward to when we are all perfected. We can't even begin to imagine such a glorious day! I'll meet you and see you there.

  2. A more appropriate word I should have used than "defects" is imperfections. I wasn't referring to the term "birth defects" - just wanted to clarify that.

  3. One day you will know just what that song means when it says Jesus is like "the fragrance after a rain " (one of my favourite scents:-) ) Thank you also for writing about your autism. Two of my sons are autistic, and I believe I am borderline (based on a computer test score, albeit not professional diagnosis). I'm sensory sensitive, which is tricky as a mom of four children!

  4. Among other disabilities, I also have no sense of smell. I have multiple autoimmune diseases, my sense of smell seemed small in comparison to the other things, however my lack of smell has recently become a blessing for me. I have recently began eating a healthier lifestyle. Allot of people don't know how I can give up as much as I have. It has made a tremendous difference in my health. I have lost weight, gained energy and put most of my autoimmune issues to a minimum. I feel I have been given back my life in so many ways. One thing that has helped me tremendously is my inability to smell. I don't crave foods, and don't smell the things I had to give up. I go places allot and can stick to a simple diet without being tempted in the restaurants by irresistible smells of foods I can no longer eat. I praise the Lord for all that He has given me and especially the blessings that are often disguised as a disability.


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