the humble onion

“Life is an onion–
you peel it year by year and sometimes cry.”

Carl Sandburg

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

Thomas Aquinas

(Nothing Fancy episode from Foyle’s War)

Having been a baby boomer, I never knew what it was like living during a time of deprivation like those who lived through the lean times of the Depression
or a world war.
I have not had to live with ration stamps, food shortages, or overt sacrifice for the greater good during a time of grave uncertainty and an all consuming war of life or death…not like my grandparents or parents who did just that.

So when I watched an episode of Foyle’s War which featured the raffling of a lone
onion, I was both startled and curious.
A raffle for a prized onion?
An onion?

Foyle’s War was a marvelous British TV Drama that came out in 2002.
The series was set in Hastings, East Sussex in England during WWII and
follows the life and trials of a local police inspector,
Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle
(Michael Kitchen) along with his small team of assistants.
Foyle works the home front, doing his best to maintain order during a time of
worldly chaos.

Dad introduced me to the series years ago when he gave me a boxed set—
I was quickly hooked.
It is historically accurate, well done and rich in cinematography with great
story lines, accompanied by consummate actors.
I think it is the historical war aspect that had me hooked.

During this one particular episode concerning the onion, the episode Nothing Fancy,
the police office was raffling off a large onion.
DCS Foyle’s assistant Sam Wainwright, is seen to pine over the onion
hoping, or better yet almost salivating,
that she might actually be able to win such a treasure.

Now granted the onion was just a bit of side story to the main plot
of murder, mystery and mayhem but yet I kept thinking how odd it was that an
unassuming onion should be raffled off.
And odder still was the fact that everyone really wanted to win.

It was just an onion for heaven’s sake.
But what I hadn’t grasped was the fact that things such as fresh vegetables,
during a raging world war, while living on an isolated Island such as England,
were a rare treasure.

Not because an onion by itself is considered nutritious, exotic or of real value..
but when you have had to live a life of deprivation, existing on ration stamps,
struggling through food shortages…
adding to the fact that most fresh foods were sent directly to the front lines
to provide the best for those fighting the war….
the act of eating was no longer something for pleasure but was for pure survival…
having a small gift of flavor was almost too good to be true.

Variety, flavor and flare were the first casualties as such luxuries
are quickly sacrificed.

If you cook, or know anything about cooking, then you fully grasp the fact that
things such as onions are often taken for granted….
yet they are the subtle key players, hanging out in the background, who are greatly necessary in cooking as they add a depth and complexity to food.

Onions add a variety of flavors pure and simple.
They take bland to an entire new level of taste…
be it sweet and smokey, spicy and hot, caramely and soft,
or they simply add texture and crunch…
Onions are a key ingredient to any savory meal.

So naturally I considered what my life would be without something equally as
necessary yet something that seems to be usually in the background,
something seemingly humble and most often taken for granted….
as in the thought that it will always be there…
Something that, should it be lost or that I should be deprived
of such would be, in a word, catastrophic….

For me, that would be a death without hope…
which is what a life would be without the real presence of God the Father,
the hope of Salvation found in Jesus Christ the Son and the
everlasting guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh,
God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,
which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away,
nailing it to the cross.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

2 Colossians 13-15

28 comments on “the humble onion

  1. says:

    Beautiful post, Julie. Our real treasure is in One who is often taken for granted and humble. I love it.

  2. hatrack4 says:

    I too love Foyle’s War. I lost track and missed to last few seasons. I am now slowly watching them again on Netflix. As for the onion, our church has sent people to Mexico for years. One day of the mission trip is a day of giving food. One friend said he stood in line handing out onions. He said that all of the other people had run out of food, except for him. The line was still long. The rich people from Pittsburgh were crying, because all they could do was give one onion to each family. The Mexicans, with wide smiles, who would get nothing but an onion,consoled them. When you are truly that poor, you are grateful for what ever provision God provides.

  3. I put it on our watchlist.

  4. It’s all on Netflix.

  5. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the great reminder on what’s truly important. And for the tv show recommendation!

  6. Sarah says:

    Great post. 🙂 Imagine living without onions for most of your life only to discover what you’d been missing out on when you’d almost finished raising your children. Imagine the regret of not being able to cook onions for your children. Now substitute God for onions and multiply by a billion or more. That is the regret of a late conversion like mine. Thankfully it is tempered by the gratitude of having been saved at all and the knowledge that it is never too late to pray and to rely on the Lord’s help.

  7. Lynda says:

    I cannot imagine living without the hope and love and peace and joy of having Jesus the Christ in my life! Blessings.

    • as my classroom kids would have said, “girl, where you’ve been?”
      Glad to hear good words from Canada!

      • Lynda says:

        My granddaughter was married last week so the family was away for a few days. Then another daughter and her family are moving on Wednesday so I’ve been busy packing! Soon things will be quiet again.

  8. oneta hayes says:

    Yes, how we do treasure our gift of salvation with its attendant peace and lively hope. Those who possess it know. I wonder if there would be buyers for this treasure. I believe so. What a raffle that would be. Too bad that so many think such a gift could not possibly be free.

  9. Praise God that He sent us Jesus and that He can be called upon at any time for help if we choose to believe in Him. 🙂 ❤

  10. Gail Johnson says:

    Great post! Love Foyle’s War.

  11. SLIMJIM says:

    Man that makes me appreciate so much of what we have now to think of the Great War, rations…and what a single onion means.

    • I know, right. I think this country could do with a bit of living with rationing… then perhaps there might be a bit more appreciation verses endless pursuits into selfish temper tantrums!

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