I just popped a couple of dozen cabbage rolls into the oven.
Sometimes I do that when a deadline is approaching and I haven’t figured out what I’m going to write about.
Not necessarily cabbage rolls — in fact, it’s the first time I’ve made cabbage rolls in years — but I cook.
Or sometimes I bake. I make the best blackberry and peach pie in the whole world.
But it’s not about the end product.
Cooking and baking clears my mind, emptying it to make room for thoughts that otherwise would remain buried in the nether cracks and crannies of my brain.
Sometimes I play my guitar.
Sometimes I go into the garden or go for a walk.
Or sometimes I just do nothing.
Actually, there isn’t anything in particular that I have to do to empty my mind. Truth be told, it’s a pretty natural state for me.
This time I made Swedish cabbage rolls.
That’s the recipe I started with, but I always mix it up a bit with a Mennonite recipe I got years and years ago.
And I use a bit of spaghetti sauce as a base for the tomato sauce recipe… so I guess they’re sort of Swedish-Italian Mennonite cabbage rolls.
And then, it occurs to me, you can add a bit of Dutch to that, since I wouldn’t be cooking anything if it weren’t for what I learned from my mom.
So you can see how empty my mind is capable of getting.
Anyway, one of the idle thoughts that drifted into the emptiness concerned how we like some people and some people like us.
And how, a lot of times, we don’t even know the people we like or don’t like.
As a journalist, I truly appreciate a profound observation that a colleague, Matthew Claxton, once made: “I’d like people to like me, but I’d rather be right.”
That should be every news reporter’s credo.
Heck, it should be everybody’s credo.
Too many people just make stuff up so that other people will like them.
Or hate them. Sometimes you can gain a lot of attention or make a lot of money by being downright nasty all the time.
Anyway, the next train that pulled into the emptiness of my cranium got me thinking about what we do to be liked.
Sometimes people will pretend to like things so that other people will like them.
Naturally, that turned me to thoughts of religion.
What is it about religious people that make them think that everyone has to be religious?
And only their religion will do?
Every big religion has gone through a reciprocal period of killing: first everyone outside of the religion wants to kill everyone inside the religion, and then everyone inside the religion feels a need to kill everyone who hasn’t joined their religion.
Recently, someone tried to “save” me by mailing me a pamphlet entitled, “Where will you spend eternity?”
It gave me a chuckle.
As an atheist, I don’t have to worry about spending any eternity.
And you have to recognize the truth of that, whether you agree with me or not, or whether you are religious or not.
The only thing here that needs saving is that mess of cabbage rolls. There’s far too many to eat in one sitting.
But never fear, they won’t be spending an eternity in the freezer.