The True Significance of a Cucumber Sandwich

Yesterday I ate a cucumber sandwich. I made it myself from home-made wholemeal bread, spread with local unsalted butter, a cucumber fresh from the garden, a hint of sea-salt and a sprinkle of freshly-milled black pepper. It was accompanied by a cup of Darjeeling Second Flush, made from loose tea in a tea-pot, and drunk without milk or lemon. To some, that would have been a modest supper; to others a luxury that nuns — nuns, forsooth! — ought not to have. To me it was a Lucullan delight I enjoyed enormously; and therein lies its true significance.

It is very easy to go through life either indulging or denying oneself at every turn. The indulgers cast a scornful eye on the deniers and accuse them of being shrivelled up, joyless old so-and-sos, while the deniers avert their gaze from the indulgers, thinking them wastrels or worse. The truth is, the earth and everything in it was given to us to be enjoyed. But we, being human beings, tend to get it wrong and assume life should always be all pleasure or all pain. Of course, it is a mixture; and we are asked to be wise stewards of whatever we are given. The fact that we cannot solve all the world’s problems does not mean that we shouldn’t try to contribute to a solution where possible; nor should we refuse to take pleasure in the little joys and good things that come our way, any more than making them our only interest.

Part of me would have liked to have shared my cucumber sandwich with someone who was hungry, but that was largely an after-thought. At the time, it was sheer cucumbery bliss. It gave glory to God by being so; and I gave glory to God by eating it and giving thanks.

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