Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Onions are funny things, don’t you think? Maybe not funny. Perhaps we could say a “unique” sort of vegetable. I have mixed feelings about onions. I relish the taste of onions, but I have gotten to the age where onions don’t like me so much. It’s too bad because onions give such flavor to foods - sautéed, raw, baked, grilled. Just that extra taste that I savor. I miss onions.
On the other hand, I propose that onions are an aggressive vegetable. By that I mean, when you cut into them, do “violence” to them, onions fight back with the very zing we like to taste. They irritate the eyes causing them to water, making it difficult to cook them unless you know the secrets of onion slicing. (See wikihow.com for suggestions.) Onions are not to be messed with. They are a bad-assed veggie.
Even the metaphor of “peeling the layers of an onion” has its positive and negative connotations. The image of peeling away the layers of an onion is used to talk about getting at deeper truths, understanding concepts, strengthening relationships. These all seem like positive, healthy things.
Peeling away the layers of our emotional baggage, however, can be quite painful. A pain we probably need to work through, but certainly not a pleasant thing. I’m in CPE. Again. “They” are delightfully peeling away layers of my “stuff.” Again. (“They” actually make us do our own peeling, but I want to assign blame, so there.)
The problem is that I’m not in the mood for onions right now. Especially not peeling them. I count up the changes and stressors that I have faced in the last twelve months and suddenly realize why I feel so exhausted. Spent. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. The excitement of preparing for and the adventure of this move has worn off. Love Portland, but there is work to be done. And I have chosen to do hard work. Chaplaincy through a residency program. So even though I don’t really feel like onions, it would appear that is exactly what I ordered.
So my tears, as I go deeper and deeper into the onion, I chalk up to not knowing all the secrets of how to peel without pain. Or how to peel and manage my pain. Things seem more painful right now because I have been on a fast moving train for over twelve months, and maybe I have some motion sickness. And let’s face it, at my age, my onion is pretty damn big. It’s going to take a while to get to the heart of it.