When Life Gives You Lemons

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

These days it feels as though the heavens have dumped truckloads of lemons all over the world. I somehow think that we are well beyond the concept of making lemonade from the preponderance of tangy citrus that has rained down on our lives. I’d like to propose a different take on the old saw that when life gives us lemons we ought to make lemonade. My idea is to use every single part of those yellow orbs, not just the juice, to make the world a better place. 

I would begin by saving the seeds, planting them and growing new little plants that will hopefully thrive and one day bear fruit. I’d use the juice for supplying that little bit of tang that changes food from ordinary to delicious. Finally I’d save the peel to give zest to baked good or to bring a clean aroma into my home. A lemon provides so much more than lemonade. We can clean with it, cook with it, use it to bring highlights into our hair.

So it is with every challenge that we face in life. At first our difficulties feel overwhelming, as though we have been bombarded by troubles that we cannot possibly overcome. It’s perfectly normal and even good to allow ourselves time to grieve, be angry, withdraw into ourselves, rest. At some point, though, we have to reenter society, carry on, but not necessarily the way we once did. Hardships often convince us to make changes in our lives, to ponder how best to move forward perhaps in different ways. Sometimes from the worst of times, we evolve as stronger, better versions of ourselves. 

It’s important that we learn to adjust to the trials we must all face. We don’t have to pretend that we are content with loss or hurt, but we ultimately have to find ways to channel our emotions into constructive ways of continuing to be part of the world. At first we may only have the energy to set aside the lemons that have rained on us. Later we may be able to make a glass of lemonade to quench our thirst for a return to normalcy, happiness. At that moment it is important to be good to ourselves, but we cannot simply move on as though nothing has happened. We should never try to ignore the trauma we have endured. Faking joy can be destructive. We can’t just pretend and hope that we will feel better.

After a time the world itself will call on us to return to a semblance of productivity. It will be difficult. It will feel as though everyone around us is a mirage and we are caught in a place of horror from which we may never escape. That is when we need to plant those lemon seeds and have as much patience with them as we should have with ourselves. With the proper care one day they will sprout just as we will feel as though we have finally emerged from the fog and been reborn into life. 

Some of those seeds will make new plants and others may never propagate. The same will be true of our feelings. There will be days when we feels as though we are back to our old selves and ready to conquer anything. There will be times when we slip back into sorrow and wonder if we ever again will be quite the same. Such is the nature of overcoming the troubles that have befallen us. 

Eventually we will notice the delightful aroma of the lemon peel just as we will begin to enjoy the pleasures around us. We will genuinely laugh and feel the zest of happiness. Life tastes good once again. We know that those lemons have changed us and somehow even made us better, stronger, perhaps more compassionate toward others who have their own load of lemons falling from the sky. 

These are trying times. We humans have been bombarded by illness, death, attacks from nature, violence, political unrest, uncertainty at every turn. We seem to be literally tripping over lemons. We want to smash them, sweep them from our paths, throw them away, ban them from existence. Instead we have to find healthy, constructive ways of dealing with them, using them to make ourselves and others better. 

The best of times are those when we are kind to ourselves and then share that kindness with others. We can use those lemons to quench the thirst and enhance the joy of ourselves and those around us. We can turn the lemon challenge into inventive ways of living that benefit the world around us. The alternative is to allow our troubles to waste and rot into a toxic stew.

Take time with the lemons that befall you. Don’t try to rush the process of dealing with them. You don’t need to make lemonade right away. Have patience and be willing to try different things and one day you will finally feel better. 

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