An onion is stinky. It makes us cry when we don't want to. When it sits around too long it gets mushy and when it cooks too long it gets slimy. After simply touching it, it's smell can permeate your skin for days. Yet, when prepared properly, the flavor it brings to our meal is wholly perfect. Without the onion, the dish is bland, boring and even pointless. The onion is the life of the meal. Its layers are the seasoning with which everything comes alive.
I used to hate onions. They often upset my stomach and I avoided them at all costs. But over time, I realized that they actually made stuff taste good. I began to consider food dull without them. When I cooked, I started to enjoy the challenge of trying not to cry as I considered how I was going to prepare the layers. Diced? Chopped? Minced? Sliced? Pureed? Life is the same. As we pull away each layer and experience its tears, we get to choose how we approach each trial. With God? Without? Hopeful? Defeated? Strong? Afraid? It may not feel like there are choices, but they exist even in the darkest of layers. Do we pick becoming bitter or better? I say, we choose better!
The reals is that journeying the onion is tough. I've had many days where I've given up and thrown the onion in the trash and said, "The hell with it. This is a bunch of bullshit." But through God's encouragement, I always seem to climb back into the garbage can and pull it back out with the hopefulness that the next layer will reveal something beautiful. And while I'm in there, I'm not trying to be pretty or polite, I'm in the damn trash, I'm pissed. And that's ok. The reals is that dumpster diving isn't fun, but I promise you, the onion is worth it.
I am a Christian. A born-again, Spirit-filled, bible-thumping Christian. I love God with every ounce of my being. I have always been a Believer. But the day my husband died, my faith changed. It was no longer about striving to be religiously correct in what I said or looking spiritual in what I did. It was about my reality. I was standing in an oblivion of pain and hopelessness and I ordered God to show His face NOW. Through my screaming tears, I demanded Him to fulfill what He promised in Romans 8:28. "All means all", I shouted! I even pulled up my dictionary app on my phone and sardonically yelled at Him the meaning of 'all', followed up with a spiteful, "Just in case you forgot!"
I didn't care if I was being disrespectful to the almighty Creator of the universe. To be honest, it was satisfying to my grief that I was. My life was in complete devastation and I could have cared less about God's reverence. That divine confrontation was the beginning of many and led me to an understanding of what it is to have a real relationship with the Lord. No longer do I try to pray the right way or work to check off religious boxes. I just go to Him as me.
I am here to be real. Real with God. Real with you. And when I share my life stories, they are shared authentically. How are we to peel this onion together if we can't be real about it; if we can't be raw in the truth; if we can't feel safe in the ugliness of it all? You can't have a real relationship with anyone if you can't be the real you.