We’ve all heard the saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. It’s a saying I have always liked, being the optimist that I am, as it implies the need to make the best of something and turn something sour in our lives into something sweet.
I don’t know how many of you have made lemonade but it’s a family favourite in our house on those 40+ something summer days when plain water just doesn’t quench your thirst.
If you have made lemonade at home, you’ll know that you need more than just lemons. You also need water and sugar, and maybe a little mint if you have it growing in the garden.
Have you ever not got the ratio of water, lemon and sugar quite right? Too much lemon and it’ll make your teeth curl, as my dad used to say. Too much sugar and it’s undrinkable, too much water and all we have is a watery tasteless liquid.
I know I have made far too much lemonade on occasion by having to add just a bit more of this and that until, before I know it, I’ve made enough for three jugs instead of one.
The saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” is incomplete, really, isn’t it? You can’t just make lemonade with lemons, you need the other ingredients in the right proportions or else that lemonade is not going to taste pleasant at all.
Just like in life, we need the right ratio of other ingredients in order to make lemonade from the lemons life hands us all at various times.
Just like with lemonade, sweetness needs to be added, so too in life when a crisis or ‘lemon’ hits our life. We need the sweet things like a surprise visit from a friend, picking flowers from our garden to bring inside, watching a favourite movie with a friend, taking that day trip to a town you’ve always wanted to see. We don’t need much sugar to sweeten the whole batch of lemonade.
We need that sweetness to balance the bitter taste of disappointment, loss and pain that life seems to hand out on an alarmingly regular basis. Without sweeteners, life is indeed just a bowl of lemons sitting on the bench. We need to intentionally add the sweetness.
And we can’t make lemonade without water, the mainstay of life and a necessity to our very existence. We need mainstays. Whether it be family and friends, faith, job satisfaction, life purpose. We all need the basics in life, just like our physical bodies need water.
So when life hands us lemons, we can indeed make lemonade but we also need the water and sugar and enough of each to make the living palatable.
Maybe you can provide some of the sugar and water to someone’s life when they are handed lemons. Or maybe you can allow others to do the same for you when life takes a sour turn.
After all, what fun is drinking lemonade all by yourself?