“You like that onion head boy,” My brother accused shrilly. He ended it on a questioning note but it was more of a proclamation. His high pitched voice was incredulous and filled the room. He was teasing but my face flushed. I was in high school at the time. Easily embarrassed, I sought the approval of others when it came to my choice in men, something I’ve since gotten over. But at the time, my brother’s declaration was enough to bring pause.
Irving was my first HUGE crush. I mean, I fancied myself in love with him. I had spent the entire summer mooning over him. Now he was back in my life and giving me the attention I always wanted. As my brother’s words sank in, so did my heart. I beheld the picture of my love thru the lens of my fickle emotions and thought: He has an onion head? He does! How have I not noticed that before? His head seemed especially bulbous and his neck shrunken. Onion like. He was even the color of the root. Sadly, I dismissed my would-be paramour for nothing more than the shape of his head. Time revealed that was a good decision, for he turned out to be as fickle as myself. Ah, young love! But I have never regretted my decision to NOT add the onion head to our gene pool. Still, I am a fan of the onion.
I love the scene from Gone with the Wind where Scarlett O’Hara bites into an onion. In the movie, it’s a potato. But the book says she bites into an onion. Now I love onions raw and sliced on a burger, diced and on a hot dog or taco. I chop up yellow for my potato salad or put slivers of red on a bed of fresh green lettuce leaves. I sauté them in pretty much any dish. But to bite into a whole, uncooked onion (or a potato, for that matter) is unimaginable. This scene spoke to her desperation. Scarlett had gone from riches to reality. Finding sustenance in dire straits, on the edge of starvation, she vowed: I’ll never be hungry again!
I’m gearing up in preparation for my next round of book signings and let me just state, it is a harrowing process. Even though I’ve done this before – heck, I’ve been singing and teaching since I was a young girl – I should be used to being in the public eye by now. Yet, each time, I build up such a case of nerves. Just the devil, I know, creating fear where there should be none. He’s very effective at that.
I paused in the midst of my panic attack and reminded myself: the onset of these feelings are usually brought upon because I’m looking at myself. I don’t feel equal to the opportunity, I fret. I’m an introvert, I said to myself mournfully, right before my last event. Why do I keep putting myself in this position? It’s pretty funny, in retrospect, so this time I decided to cut to the chase. The conclusion I came to put me back on track. I realized it’s not me. It’s you, Lord! It’s always you. Never can I do anything in and of my own ability. It is in you that I live and move and have my being. I abide in the True Vine. I borrow my power from you. I can do this.
“Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers,” Shrek.
This morning I appreciated the onion analogy ala Shrek. It has layers. Anyone who’s ever eaten a blooming onion can attest to its appeal. The fun is in peeling away each crusty, deep fried level, working your way to its center. It occurred to me that I’m kind of like an onion, too – the fried variety, LOL! I find myself in hot oil from time to time but as I am raised from the intense heat, I can see the layers more clearly. They have been revealed because of my situation. I bloom in that heat, though initially, it seems stressful. An occasion for me to cry can morph into something wonderful. And when I am lifted up I will be transformed for the experience, a beautiful batter dipped creation, a culinary wonder. Those crispy protrusions pull back and open to display the core of which the onion is built around, that holds it all together.
So many great comparisons can be drawn from the onion. My core is His strength. Overheated situations peel back me and reveal Him. At my center, I hope you will find Him. Or, you can think of it like this. The Bible urges us to circumcise our hearts, to get rid of those layers that separate us from Him – that pride and stubbornness – so that He can replace our hard heart with a tender one. One that is more pliable and receptive to His way and will. The most tender part of the onion is the heart. You just have to get past all of the layers to reveal it. As I am peeled away, I get closer to the person he has called me to be. I decrease, He increases. Like the heart of the onion, I am hidden in Christ. I could go on and on. But I think you get the picture! I am an onion!