For some reason, I’ve always been vaguely irritated when I’ve read or heard the adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love lemonade, and I understand and embrace the message conveyed—be grateful; learn from the “sour” experiences in life; use those lessons you couldn’t have learned any other way to view the richness of life, in all its pain and joy.
What bothers me, I think, is the communication that I can make anything of anything. I’ve had my share of lemons—fewer than many, more than some—and though I’ve often tried very hard, when the lemons threatened to bury me, to find water and something to sweeten the concoction, I haven’t been very good at it. More than once, I’ve found what I thought was sugar and water enough to quench my thirst for the moment, only to discover that the stream from which I’d drawn the water was drainage from rain, and not the tributary of a river.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t search for water and sugar. What I’m saying is that I’m much better off when I realize that I am incapable of creating water and sugar. I can’t “make” anything. I’m the creature, not the Creator.
It’s about trust and patience and humility—trust that “all things” really will “work together for good,” patience to allow God time, and humility at the realization that we are powerless to initiate the creation, but called to co-create with the raw materials only God can provide. No original thoughts here.
So, if you ask me, when life gives you lemons, don’t try to make anything. Pray, instead, for living water and honey, for the vision to see them in the most unexpected places, and the will to stay out of the way of their appearance.
And then call the neighbors and invite them over to your lemonade stand, and laugh out loud at their faces when they realize it’s free.