I’m not big on cliché sayings at any time, but one that has always irritated me – really gotten under my skin – is the old “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”.
I get it; I do.
We’re supposed to be making the best out of every situation, to take what we’re handed and somehow, someway, create something good out of the bad. But – to me, at least – it seems like these kinds of positive thoughts only resonate when we’re not in the midst of a lemon-heavy time. Life isn’t always what we expect. We’re not guaranteed the opportunity or time or resources to turn misfortune into something else. We’re not guaranteed anything, really.
Life is not fair, in any capacity. Cancer, car accidents, war, missing planes, losing a parent or sibling or child or friend. It doesn’t play favorites, and it certainly doesn’t spare anyone from tragedy.
Is life great? Yes.
Can it be incredible? Most definitely.
In my short almost 31-years on Earth, I have experienced both extremes. Pure, exuberant joy and soul-searing, devastating pain. Everyone understands what it feels like to be on the losing end – when you’re the one being handed lemon after lemon after lemon while everyone else around you seems to be getting peaches instead. When someone else gets the promotion or the dream house or the baby. Maybe it’s luck; maybe it’s just that life – real, complicated, painful, joyful life – hasn’t caught up to some people yet.
No matter where we are right now, the lemons are coming. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe five or ten years down the road. They will find us all. Sometimes it’ll be a handful, sometimes a bushel. I think it’s just a way to remind us that we’re not in charge of anything, that we have no control in the grand scheme of things. The world does not owe us anything, and that is one of the hardest lessons to learn.
And in seasons where lemons are abundant, it is so incredibly easy – too easy – to get bitter. And to stay bitter. And to spread that bitterness to everyone around you.
Maybe the making lemonade part doesn’t mean taking the bad news and finding the good. Maybe it’s simply accepting your lemons but refusing to let it affect your outlook, your dreams, your hopes, your attitude.
On days when things feel heavy and you want so badly to wallow in bitterness (we’ve all been there), try making some actual lemonade. It’s the perfect thing to remind you of the good – of light days and those non lemon-bearing seasons that bring you joy.
Life will not always be sweet, but everything we’re handed can be – and should be – useful.
Honey Sweetened Lemonade
If you want a super sweet lemonade, this isn’t the one. I think lemonade should make you pucker just a little, with just enough sweetness to keep it from being straight lemon water. If you like yours sweeter, add more honey or even a mix of honey and granulated sugar.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- In a pitcher or bowl, mix the honey and hot water and stir until the honey is dissolved.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Add 2 more cups of water to the mixture and chill until ready to serve.