At the grocery store I work at, we do a weekly audit for the scan department: scanning 1000+ items to ensure the price tags are accurate. I enjoy doing this because I get to study how products are designed: graphics, colors, logos, and product descriptions. Graphic design, along with video design, is one of my love languages.
While I was working in the cleaning supplies aisle yesterday, one of the Glade air fresheners caught my eye… and my nose? Is that a thing?
Pure Vanilla Joy
“How nice,” I thought, as I picked it up, scanned it with my scan gun, double checked the price, and put it back in its place, but not before smelling it, of course. It smelled wonderful. My nose was definitely caught.
Then, as I am in the habit of doing after taking three years of Spanish classes, I noticed the Spanish translation of the scent’s name: Puro Aroma de Vanilla, which translates directly as, “pure smell of vanilla.”
I was confused at first; I knew the word “aroma” is shared between English and Spanish, meaning “a pleasant smell.” As I moved on to scan the next air freshener, I wondered why the Glade designers had used the word “aroma” instead of “joy” when writing the Spanish name; I was pretty sure the two words weren’t connected between the languages. I then realized that the designers had probably decided to use the word “aroma” instead of “joy” because it was a more logical translation. “Pure Vanilla Joy” sounds nice to us English speakers, but the literal translation “Alegría Puro De Vainilla” might not make much sense to Spanish speakers.
But this small choice from the Glade graphic designers and the momentary linguistic confusion it caused me got me thinking. If you have “pure joy” from God, it is an aroma, sweet as vanilla, that can permeate a room just like a candle. Joy is deeper than happiness: it is a sense of peace, contentment, and hope that is always present, no matter your situation or mood. Happiness comes and goes; we’re not smiling and laughing every single second, after all. The world uses the word “joy” to describe entertainment, temporary pleasure, or, sometimes, a candle’s artificial scent as if “joy” is just a level up from “happiness.” But we can only find pure joy in God.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Thanks for the reminder, Glade.