Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God and applesauce

Cooking isn't something I enjoy, so I do it as seldom as I can get away with. Fortunately, Jim is understanding and we eat out a couple of times a week and each prepare our own meals most of the rest of the time; when the weather's good, we frequently barbecue and make a meal together. This singular behavior is something we both learned during our individual times of living alone, and it suits us well. Oh, he or I will cook for the other on the odd occasion, but truthfully we're both quite comfortable with our arrangment.

I do enjoy "event" cooking - holidays and other special occasions - and periodically I'll be consumed with the need to make a special meal. Jim likes my lasagna, and a freezer full of clams will occasionally call my name, turning into delicious clam chowder. I do bake Christmas cookies every year, a holdover from when my boys were small and something they still look forward to having. I don't really enjoy baking cookies, though, and anticipate that some day one of my daughters-in-law will take it over. But I'd probably miss doing it, even so.

In the fall, however, I find that I want to make applesauce! Now, applesauce doesn't really qualify as cooking; it's too easy. The prep is the difficult part for me - not hard, mind you, just stultifyingly boring. The coring, peeling, cubing - well, my mind wanders on to Deep Thoughts and before I know it (usually), the task is done and the easy part is upon me.

This morning I set upon about 10 pounds of apples with paring knife in hand. As I peeled each apple, I thought about how nice it would be to take the scraps home to put in our compost bin, and how soon - amazing, how soon! - they would mingle with tree and grass trimmings, coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves, and all the other biologic detritus of yard and kitchen, becoming a rich addition to the soil for next year's garden.

Since my mind tends to take strange and not always obvious turns at times like these, I was soon reminded of a book about space that my youngest grandson carries around and reads to anyone who will listen. It mentions in there that everything that exists today had its genesis in the instant our universe came into being. Science tells us that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. And so, in some mysterious way, the apples that I peeled this morning are as old as the universe; in the process of composting their trimmings, I will be part of the process that will change them into something else!

As I continued along this seldom-traveled path in my mind, I thought about us - you, me, all the people we have ever known, all those who wish us well and those who wish us harm. We, too, were there in that instant of Creation, Big Bang - whatever you choose to call it. We are made of recycled parts, as are our children, grandchildren, people in other nations, people from other times. We don't even have to wait to die to become a part of this continuum; our bodies shed cells constantly, hair falls out, fingernails are clipped, and our own body waste returns to again be used through this mysterious (to me, anyway) process.

My final hairpin turn (the apples were in the pot and on the stove) was one of those moments that have just been waiting somewhere in my brain for decades! Why, given this natural process of which most of us are aware, and to which most of us subscribe, do some of us reject the concept of Evolution? Is it not just another example of how matter changes? If my apples in Oregon were once a pterodactyl on some other continent, then why could I not have once been an emerging single-celled sea creature? Oh, I know the analogy isn't exact, but the concept is valid.

I happen to believe in a Creator; not everyone does, of course, and others believe in a Creator to the exclusion of everything else. But I like the idea of a God who recycles and re-uses. In Psalm 139 (one of my favorite Bible passages) we read:

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.

How remarkable is that?

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. A quite wonderful meandering of thoughts! I like the entire premise of everything being entertwined over the milleniums, and maybe if everyone took this to heart we would treat the world and each other more kindly since, hey, we are all part of each other!

    Happy Thanksgiving, dear Cheryle. And thank you for always sharing your wisdom.

  2. I, too, believe that a Creator can co-exist with the idea of evolution. It has always made sense to me, so I generally tune out the debate that there is one or the other...