Choosing Lemonade

We have all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”.  This little saying may be discounted as just a cliche or too “pollyannish” to even be applicable to our own lives.  But, the truth is this is the answer to making all things right in your world.  In a recent article a woman by the name of Beverly Morrone Haller responsed to the inquiry:  What I Really Know About Turning Points.  Her story illustrates a strong point I am trying to make here.  Here is Beverly’s story:

“Right after turning 50, I began to feel short of breath when walking up stairs.  I couldn’t seem to convince my doctors that my breathing problems were anything other than signs of stress.  But months later I found myself in an ambulance, riding to a major trauma hospital for open-heart surgery.  Four days later, I regained consciousness only to learn that a mid-surgery stroke had significantly impaired my vision.

“That meant I could no longer do the very things that had defined me; work at my family’s mortgage company; drive my teenage daughter; even sing with my church choir, because I couldn’t read the music.

“Ten years later, I’ve had big changes in my life.  To be near public transportation, my husband and I moved to the edge of Washington, D.C.  Now we take weekly trips downtown to do the tourist stuff we never used to make time for.  And I’ve made many more friends because I have to ask for rides.  I’ve taken vacations with high school girlfriends to see musicals in Chicago and traveled to New York to see a close friend sing with the Metropolitan Opera.  Unable to work, I volunteered for activities I never thought I would: directing a 150-person Christmas pageant and leading sing-alongs at a local Alzheimer’s facility.

“Now each year I celebrate my “second birthday” on the day I was given a chance to live differently.  Fortunately, I wasn’t given a choice.  If someone had told me that I could live past 50, but with only some of my vision and not be able to drive, I would have politely declined.  Now I know better.  What a stroke of luck.”

Beverly’s story and her ability to accept what happened to her and find a new way of living and meaning in her life really resonated with me.  I have had a similar series of events that left me without any warning unable to drive, having to learn how to walk all over again, deafness on one side of my head, and no longer the stamina required to do the work I loved and enjoyed doing.  Like Beverly, had I been forewarned that I would become incapacitated due to two brain incidents, and all the resulting limitations that it has imposed on my life, I don’t know how I would have reacted to such impending news.   But, like Beverly, I found that having to change how I viewed what was priority and important in my life, having to accept the helping hand of friends, family and the kindness of strangers (who become friends), you learn that life can take on a different dimension of richness to it —- IF you let it.  

When I awoke in the hospital after being in a catatonic state for over two weeks, and having no idea why I was even there, I could have easily become bitter, despondent, angry and ask the proverbial question, “Why ME”.   But, I quickly saw the devastating negative impact having such an attitude could do to my being able to regain my strength and health back.  I consciously chose to call what happened to me a blessing. 

My love of God and knowing that HE would never deal me a hand I couldn’t handle, I knew that this situation had a purpose.  What that purpose was certainly alluded me at that time.  I do know that I was forced to slow down from my active and engaging, but also very demanding, small business efforts to a complete “stop and smell the roses” existence.   I believe that because I chose to call these events “good”, I made remarkable strides in my recovery efforts.   Life isn’t back to normal, and it may never get back to that place again, but it definitely is rich with friends and a renewed sense of enhancing my spiritual journey.  This blog is one of those resulting by-products. 

My point of sharing Beverly’s story and my own is to make a point that no matter what life throws in our direction, and none of us goes unscathed in life, we have a choice. We can choose to bemoan our circumstances and turn to false solutions like drugs, alcohol or other self destructive behaviors, or we can choose to call our circumstances “good” and state to God:  “I can’t wait to see what wonderful outcomes you have in store for me from this situation”.  Believe that whatever trial that is being put before you as ultimately good, and will result in a happier outcome, and it will happen for you.  God is the only one that can make this happen so put the whole thing in His hands and expect good things to happen.

10 Responses to “Choosing Lemonade”

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