So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality. Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.
No, I am not going to bend your ears about my lemon trees in the back yard, although they are indeed worthy of mention. And I am not going to share my life-long dream of having a lemonade stand out front by the highway. I would need a county license, would have to file the income with the IRS, and would see an increase in my house insurance because of the added liability. All for 25 cents a cup – I don’t think so.
What I will do is share the wisdom of Grandpa advising me how to respond to life when life was nothing but a basket of lemons. “Make lemonade,” he said. Grandpa loved homemade lemonade on a hot, summer afternoon after a hard morning’s work in the potato fields.
Richard Rohr @ cac.org would have loved my Grandpa. A follower of the Franciscan order, Richard writes daily in his blog concerning issues that every earthly human faces in everyday life. Traditional Christian theology promoting ‘salvation’ takes a back seat to sitting at the Jesus table experiencing all of life with all its complexities and heartaches. At this table, where there is a seat for everyone, communing with society’s oppressed and downtrodden is more relevant to the faith walk than ascending the heaven-bound ladder of religion’s ‘thou shalt and thou shalt not.’
I think Richard probably loves lemonade too. He talks about the covid-19 dilemma forcing us to self-quarantine, isolate socially and wear masks. It can be a debilitating event in our lives or it can be an opportunity to focus on our families and loved ones at home getting to know them more intimately and lovingly. We are learning to get by with less expensive amusement from outside sources and staying within the beauty, safety, and comfort of our home environment. Virtual communication with family and friends via internet connections is not the bogeyman we all feared. Conducting one’s job responsibilities from the home computer has distinct advantages (who needs an elaborate wardrobe to go to work or a shiny car to commute?)
And as we address the world’s other potentially debilitating problems….MAKE LEMONADE. The lemons being harvested from a corrupt and dysfunctional political system have brought civics to our supper tables nationwide. Remember civics class in high school? Yes, we talked about the rights and duties of citizenship. We remembered that many people living under authoritarian or dictatorial governments don’t have civics class because they don’t have rights. Ahhh, another glass of lemonade, please?
Or consider the pot of racism simmering on the back burner for decades which is now being addressed honestly and openly. Those sour fruits from the white supremacist factions of our society have surfaced under an accommodating Administration forcing an uncomfortable self-inventory – am I a racist? Many of us before this revelation would have summarily replied, “Hell no, I have a bunch of friends who are Negro.” More lemonade, maybe, with a large twist of humility?
And while we’re on a roll, let’s look at our country’s rampant, materialistic economy which is enriching a handful of corporate pockets while an overwhelming majority of our population lives pay check to pay check. Do you really believe the wealthy are scrimping and saving like most of us are during this virus-forced economic downturn? No, they continue to turn a profit hand over fist. Perhaps this time of pandemic is the time we take stock of our materialistic excesses and embrace simplicity as a better way for us and for our earth. Our society has refused to do this voluntarily, but perhaps now with a simpler lifestyle forced upon us, we will realize it is not the end of the world.
There it is in a nutshell – my love for lemonade. We can continue to lament the ‘way things used to be’ or we can anticipate with excitement and expectation a new way which tells us the earth is overflowing with bounty and goodness and lots of lemons.