I’ve been thinking about lemons lately. I’m not one to order lemons in my water but I do love them. Lemon-blueberry anything, lemon chicken, lemon desserts are all things I enjoy eating. The perfume I wear is Sugar Lemon. I’ve become hooked on Chic-fil-a’s Frosted Lemonade. It’s tart yet sweet and perfect for a warm, sunshiney day.
But that’s not why I’ve been thinking about lemons. There’s an overused cliche, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Recently I came across this one, “Unless life also gives you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck.” I laughed when I read it and have been turning it over and over in my mind ever since.
It’s easy to let the lemons pile up. Lemons can occupy your thoughts, keep you tossing and turning, even make you bitter. I think it’s easy to see the lemons you’ve been handed and forget how much water and sugar you have at your disposal. So, I thought today I’d tell you about where I’m finding the rest of the ingredients for this lemonade.
Water sustains. It gives life. You can go a lifetime without sugar or lemons; without water you’d be dead in about three days. Water for me has come in many forms. I find it walking through the doors of church and missional community (home group). I sit in sermons and draw vision; I lift praises and find gratitude; I take communion and find grace. I am surrounded by this eclectic group of twenty-somethings and retirees on Wednesdays and am always amazed at how we’ve become a tight-knit group who has as much fun learning from each other as we do picking on each other. Working with high school girls in our youth group reminds me that impossible things happen. It also assures me that as much as things change, fifteen year-old-girls will always be boy-crazy.
The water comes in still moments, when the sun is shining, a breezes is blowing through the window, and I sip quietly on coffee knowing God is near.
I find it standing next to my parents at church and at family lunches. It’s there when I watch my friends hold their little ones and learn what it means to be a parent. It’s there in a different way when I watch two others rebuilding after losing their sweet girl. It happened over and over as I watched Spring take over Winter.
It’s in the moment I let people close enough to see my messy bits of tears and confusion and realize they love me just the same. It’s in the deep well of a fifteen year friendship that has allowed both of us to grow and change yet wind up closer despite distance and being in different stages.
Those moments at work when things click for the girl I’m training and I get a glimpse of the amazing nurse she’ll become. When we’ve pushed through a terrible night that will become a great story and get through it together because we really do like out team.
It’s finally being able to run up the punishing hill in my complex. Knowing I have so much farther to go but being proud of getting here.
It’s in nights celebrating long-awaited jobs and promotions and OI awareness and drinking up the good and laughing to the point we have trouble getting a postable picture.
And then there’s sugar. The sweet bits. The extra. What’s unnecessary, per say, but so very necessary.
For me it’s driving at night with the windows down, music blaring, and hair flipping around.
it’s swinging on the porch with this beauty, telling her secrets and asking her what she thinks I should do.
It’s sitting outdoors with my brother and sister listing to Johnnyswim at Sevier Park Fest play one of my favorite songs, “Live While We’re Young” and pray-singing the lyrics.
It’s getting taken care of when there’s a splinter in my foot by a couple friends because even though I’m a nurse, it’s really hard to get something out of your own foot.
It’s watching a nurse wheel her patient that’s been bed-alarming down the hallway to see her husband of more than fifty years, that’s also a patient and hasn’t been able to sleep. It’s witnessing the peace that settles over them as they hold hands and fall asleep for hours.
It’s birthday parties. Going home after two a.m. Nights spent downtown. Laughing until you can’t breathe. It’s not quite acting your age.
It’s making a happy entryway.
Fresh cut flowers.
Being near the water.
It’s a thousand little things. It’s movie or game nights and nights that were supposed to be one or the other but we end up simply talking until very late. Meals around the table. Newborn snuggles. Running at the park. Stories retold. How just hearing a few notes of a favorite song can make me smile.
It’s in those moments I can’t even write about because words can’t capture the sweetness that is a knowing smile, simple touch, or really good hug. Sometimes things are so sweet you almost can’t mention them. Just having them is enough.
So, sure, life will throw you lemons. You’ll get pelted with them. Sometimes you will resent the mere notion of having to make lemonade. If you’re like my brother was at age two, you can just eat your lemons, peel and all. But it’s a bitter way to live. I choose to believe that while there will always be lemons, curveballs, low-blows, uphill climbs, and moments that take your breath (in the worst possible way), there will also be a lot of life-giving sweetness. You just may have to realize that it’s there.