My dear friend Susan Carson responded to my blog yesterday in such a powerful way that there was nothing to do except share it with you. Thanks, Susan. And Amen.
I read your latest blog post, Lemonade, with interest, because I, too, am somewhat discomfited by what seems like a glib instruction to take what you get and make something wonderful with it, regardless. Some days this seeming glibness has grated on my nerves more than others. I didn’t give it much thought until your post, because as glib as that saying might be, your post made me uncomfortable, too, for some reason, so I had to examine it a bit more closely.
What I realized is that I see something different in that phrase, at least upon careful examination. I didn’t find it to be about my ability to create anything, contrary to the basic instructional nature of “…make lemonade.” You’re right that we humans are the created, not the creator of the stuff of life, but for me the phrase speaks not to the need to wait till God provides the source for the other ingredients but that the Source is already there with us, in us. We already have the sugar and water, if you will, in that infinite Living Water, which is God’s “sweet” Grace. What we do need, as you said, is the humility and the patience to recognize them whenever and wherever we are.
As I lay in bed thinking about this last night, I thought of the discussion we’ve had in EFM about the sign of the cross we make from time to time, the vertical and the horizontal motions from forehead to heart and shoulder to shoulder, about trying to live in that center where those lines intersect. The lemons that life gives us lie on the horizontal; the water and sugar of God’s Grace in our lives are the vertical. The lemonade, if you will, is at the intersection.
Or, to use your inner/outer imagery that you spoke of in that same conversation, for me I think the lemons are “out there” in the outer circle, and the sweet water of Grace is there in your inner circle with you. When I think of it this way, that God and his grace aren’t just there behind me waiting for me to turn around and notice him (one visualization that has always spoken to me of my separation from God and my failure to notice his being there for me always) but really WITH me, through me, in me, all around me…when I truly take this in for a moment, a feeling of such complete peace washes over me, and I can be, just for that moment, refreshed and stilled in that knowledge. It doesn’t change my circumstances, and it doesn’t pay my bills or calm the rest of the family circumstances down or fix my car, but it tells me if God is with me in this place I’m at, right now, then all that stuff doesn’t matter, not in the long run. The lemonade for me is this stillness.
Lemonade on a hot day is pure heaven, a momentary relief from the humid Georgia summer’s day. Recognizing God’s presence in that intersection of daily problems and minutiae is like that, a momentary glimpse of heaven on my doorstep, a sign that if I can just put my own fears aside and wait, God will act, and he will always surprise me in the best way possible. That’s lemonade, and it’s worth waiting for.