Ep. 29 – Phoenix – Just Making Lemonade
I am not unique. In the final analysis, every one of us has been dealt a bad hand. No matter how we try to put a pretty face on things, this is a broken world. Contrary to what the current alarmists are ranting, it is not this generation, nor Generation X, or even the Boomers who bear the blame. The fact is that we inherited our world from our earliest folks. No matter if you believe that to be Adam and Eve, or one of the gods out of the pantheon of Ancient Near East “deities,” or even if you are a fan of either the oozing from the slime or the Big Bang. None of the origin stories change our present reality. We’ve got a mess on our hands.
Much of the time we mere mortals can turn a blind eye to our responsibility for fixing this world. We usually are too wrapped up in our tiny portion of this globe to even pay nodding acknowledgment to the world’s plight. But it seems to me that the global solution lies exactly there. What is required of us is to take responsibility for our little part of the picture. It’s more than challenging to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads, much less concern ourselves about the world falling apart.
We each have our own personal inheritances that can consume us. Instead of having to run off to help a third world country, or personally empty the garbage of our masses yearning to be free, what would happen if we each just took care of our own business? What if we made it a priority to clean up the mess in our own lives, not necessarily instead of, but definitely before we try to put the oxygen mask on our travel companions.
The mess of my life is just coping with my personal “demons,” if you will. Again, I don’t think I am unique. I struggle with being who I am. It matters less to me what others think of me. The burden I carry is my own perception of myself. Just as we can become overwhelmed with the magnitude of our global issues, I find it personally true as well. I find myself juggling with my personal lemons. Occasionally I manage to make a little lemonade from one of them, but by and large I feel buried under their weight.
Most of my energies are depleted in warring against what I perceive to be my personal shortcomings. And then I think, how is it that I view my little golden citrus fruit as being something bad? Most culinary experts know that just a little bit of lemon juice can make a dish a success. I am beginning to see these little orbs for their potential, not just for their present bitterness. When I begin to complain about one or more aspect of either my personality, my giftings or lack of, my aging physique, or even my whirling mind, I have begun to see that these characteristics, and even leanings, make me who I am.
Silly as it sounds, I find myself wanting to celebrate the total picture that is me. It’s not that I am reconciled to letting my flesh fall apart or even to my mind spinning out of control, but there is a peace about understanding that this is who I am. Granted, I certainly bear the marks of the generations who came before, with all their foibles and even some of their achievements. But none of that has to define who I become.
Every generation has been dealt its own demons. Notice how that word is “lemons” with a D instead of an L? I think the “D” stands for so many potential negative outcomes of our personal plight: destruction, despair, disease, death. Whereby the “l” makes us think of love, learning, levity, and even life. Lemons have value and potential.
Today I feel a bit like Popeye, when he stated, “I yam what I yam.” There is a level of acceptance of himself just as he is that I have envied. In accepting all that is part of who I am, I can choose to grow in areas, but I don’t have to feel that the bulk of my existence is a list of negatives. I can embrace the lemons for what they can become and not be shut down by their existence. And after all, any kind of fruit can sustain life, even lemons.
And for those who would say this all seems narcissistic, and would ask “What about the suffering around the world?” To them I would say if each of us can embrace our own existence, and learn to work with what we have been given, joy will ensue. It will spill over to all those around us. It may seem like a tiny drop on the pond of life, but, oh, the ripples are far-reaching!
Let’s make lemonade from our own personal lemons and see if the world doesn’t get refreshed as well.
This story is featured in my book “Phoenix!”
Beautiful stories. Beautiful art.