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

Bucket list

“I got a theory a person ought to do everything it’s possible to do before he dies,
and maybe die trying to do something that’s really impossible.”

Patricia Highsmith

I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays,
no just for tomorrow, but in the here and now.
Keep moving and forget the post mortems; and remember,
no one can get the jump on the future.

Carl Sandburg

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(antique water bucket / Julie Cook / 2016)

We all have them…
Those very public or very private wishes, dreams desires…
otherwise known as a bucket list.
You know, those things we want to do, see or accomplish before kicking the proverbial bucket.

Some of those desires are grandiose,
While some are demur and simple.

Many of them include travel, going, doing, seeing…
Be it….
The Great Wall of China
Climbing Machu Picchu
Riding a camel to see the Pyramids of Giza
Climbing Mt. Everest…or maybe just any mountain will do.
Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
Going on Safari
Visiting a rainforest…

Maybe it’s meeting a president, a famous sports figure, a celebrity.
Maybe it’s writing the next great American novel
or maybe it’s doing something to be remembered by…

I suspect a bucket list should be somewhat special, even monumental.

Not so much a trite list for bragging rights to be ticked off one by one…
But rather something that will be life altering awesome…
Life transforming…

A list, that I believe, should consist of only one primary event…
For there is truly only one such event in one’s life that is worthy,
dare I say necessary, of doing…

That being…
a meeting,
a befriending,
with the subsequent relinquishing of self…

The opening of ones heart…
The giving up of all that is which weighs one down…

The meeting of ones Savior…
Ones lifeline.
Ones Hope.
Ones Salvation.

And allowing Him to help carry any remaining buckets….

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

reflections

“A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time—the stuff of life.”
― Carl Sandburg

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(lily pads hide the reflection of pine trees / Watercolor Resort / Santa Rosa, FL / Julie Cook / 2016)

Reflections, as seen in a mirror or some other reflective surface,
echo that which is of the exterior…
It is a jumping point to the obvious and to the immediate observations being offered to those
who are in the direct range of view.

Reflections are safely accepted to be readily sized up, taken as carbon copies of the actual.
Assumed as safe and offering no surprises.

A question to ask ourselves….
Does the exterior reflect the hidden interior?

Does the truth hide behind a false reflection?
Is a false observation being offered to the causal viewer?
Do they see one thing with the inner self being something or someone else entirely different?

As a Christian, are we being honest and true in reflecting who we truly are?
Do we allow our reflections to be that of Christ or of someone we claim to be…
yet sadly fail to actually reflect?

We are charged to be reflectors…reflecting the light of Christ into a very dark world.

Do those who see us, meet us, observe us, be they close or be they far…
do they see the right reflection?

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect…

1 Peter 3:15

Eyes open

In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.
Carl Sandburg

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(ghost crab, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

When the morning sun peeks over the horizon
When you first open those sleepy little eyes
When you find yourself in that peaceful place between sleeping and waking
When everything about the newness of a day is still positive and bright

Rejoice

When you are greeted by those aches and pains upon rising
When you look in the mirror and regret what looks back
When you suddenly recall the traumas and dramas of your life
When you hear of the strife and agony throughout a perilous world

Rejoice

When the day has grown dark and shadows long
When you find yourself at the end of the day no better than the day before
When you stand on the losing side of the battle
When a heavy head yearns for a safe and gentle place to rest

Rejoice

Remember, to keep your heads held high
Always stand up straight, always full of purpose
Constantly move forward, even if it’s inch by inch
Always keep your eyes wide open . . .and remember. . .

Rejoice

The battle has been fought
The war has indeed been won
The Promise has long since been made
And the Glory is forever yours and mine

Rejoice

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10