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Is Lemonade Really Better than Lemons?

Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash

Photo by Jen Theodore on UnsplashI had a wonderful opportunity to walk through a field of dewy grass early this morning. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, it was simply a beautiful morning.

OK, so what actually happened, I dropped my car off for repairs and couldn’t get an Uber, so I had to walk a mile back home along a busy road that has no sidewalk.

I half suspected I would have trouble getting a ride, so I was prepared. I was wearing sneakers because I figured the grass would be dewy. I’m not a big fan of getting my shoes wet. It feels icky.

There’s something about simply walking and noticing the world around you, though. As I walked through the wet grass my mind brought up a memory of a book I read when I was a kid. It was about a girl (I think her name was Charlie) who ran away. She was supposed to visit her aunt, but she thought her aunt didn’t actually want her to visit so when she got off the train, she ran away in the woods. I don’t remember a lot of details about the story, but there was one particularly magical moment for me when Charlie woke up the first morning after running away and she drank the dew off the grass. Drinking dew off the grass was the most amazing thing ever to my 8-year-old mind! It painted this magical, mystical picture of a girl fully connecting with the universe.

I remember reading that sentence and my world just stood still for moment in the wonder of it all. So this morning, as I’m slogging through the wet grass in my now-soaked shoes, it was a very welcome memory. Going back to that particular moment in my childhood and re-experiencing those feelings of awe and wonder created a new moment of awe and wonder for me this morning.

As I pondered that memory I got to thinking about the old saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I’ve never been terribly fond of that saying and today I started thinking about why I don’t resonate with it. Part of me wondered if that was what I was doing in recalling my memory of the dewy grass in the story and how it made me feel. Was I simply taking a not-so-great situation (walking along a busy road because I couldn’t get a ride) and twisting it into something it wasn’t (a wonderful walk down memory lane)? Is that making lemonade?

Photo by Ernest Porzi on UnsplashWhat about the lemons themselves? Can we simply appreciate a lemon for what it is and not what it will produce? Can we appreciate the color, the texture, the tartness? Even if we don’t actually enjoy any of those things about the lemon, even if none of those things bring us pleasure or happiness, can we still appreciate the qualities of the lemon itself? Can we find awe and wonder in the creation of the lemon, of the small seed that grows into a tree that produces fruit? Can we appreciate the outlandishness of anything actually growing from tiny seeds?

Imagine holding a lemon in your hand. Feel the weight of it. Feel the bumpy texture of the skin. Feel the smoothness of those bumps. Look at the lemon and see the bright yellow. See the end where the skin puckers together around the brown bit that was originally attached to the tree. Maybe even find beauty in the fruit.

And so it is with life. We don’t have to create something “good” out of something “bad.” We can simply appreciate whatever is right in front of us. That doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it or find pleasure in it. But we can appreciate what the moment brings to us and, sometimes, if we look hard enough, maybe even find a little awe and wonder in it.

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