Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes the bad really gets worse.

I saw a New Yorker cartoon Thursday and chuckled all afternoon. A man was sitting with his doctor, looking distressed. The doctor said, "Sometimes it helps to turn a question around: Why not you?" (See it here.)

That cartoon was funny Thursday night and much of Friday. At 4:45 Friday, we got a phone call bearing bad news. At 5:00 on Friday, that cartoon was no longer funny. It was real.

Following that bad news came more bad news, then a little more bad news. My dear friends who have suffered loss this weekend, we are together. We don't grieve alone. We all walk so close to tragedy every day. All I have to share with you now in this darkness is a little voice that envisions peace.

Peace...

...to L. and R., who lost their baby Friday, just five months in the womb.
...to H. and L., who lost their brother to suicide Saturday.
...to S. and B., who found out on Saturday that their best friend, at just 46, has terminal cancer.
...to P., who suffered a massive stroke this weekend.
...to S. and S., who found out on Friday that they most likely can't conceive, and they have no options.

Folks tend to console the grieving, and perhaps the grieving console themselves with the well-worn "Everything happens for a reason."

That doesn't work for me. I don't believe in a master plan. Quite an unfortunate position to put oneself in.

But: Things happen as a result of other things—that we can agree on.

Things happen as a result of other things, and then other things happen as a result of those things. Some of those results are good, and some are bad. We have no real control over that. We probably agree on that too.

To suggest that the tragedies of daily life are there specifically to teach us important lessons: We may differ there.

But reality proves: Things happen, and we can survive. We can make lemonade, and people who know how to make lemonade are very valuable people in this world. Others can learn much from them.

What others can learn from them is how to make lemonade themselves someday, and while the tragedy may not or may not have happened for some providential reason, there is one thing we can do: We can move forward.

Life is full of lemons. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to make lemonade. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to make whiskey sours. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to remove the smell of garlic from our fingertips. It matters not whether they come because someone up there ran out of limes.

They just come, and they will keep coming. These things are everywhere, happening to everyone.

Do not ask why the lemons came your way, or your friend's way, or anyone's way. And no, bad things don't just happen to the good people. They happen to the bad people too. Good people make lemonade; bad people make more lemons.

Unless we wish to remain sour, we have but one recourse:

Grieve for a while. Lemons suck.

Then, shave the ice, grind the purest cane sugar, and drop them together, with the lemons, in the perfect glass pitcher. Shake. Stir. Listen to how the ice cubes gently tinkle, bell-like, against the glass.

Drink from it, all of you.

Enjoy the product; mourn not the tang of the original ingredient.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

Blessings to your friends, of the lemon honey tea variety.

Susan said...

Thinking of you ..... and looking forward to our visit to the land of the pilgrims in January.