Squeeze Those Lemons; Making the Most out of Sour Situations
No, this will not be an attempt to tell you how to pick the best lemons at the grocery store. It will be an attempt to help you make the absolute best out of any sour situation that comes your way in life. You’ve heard the old adage: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
As a Florida resident, we just experienced Hurricane Irma. By all accounts, it was to be the largest natural disaster in the United States ever! Having lived in Florida for twenty-four years I have weathered many storms during hurricane season. Never before had I felt the need to leave, especially when a mandatory evacuation had not even been called for yet. This time around, however, something was different. I made the decision to pack up my family and leave. The decision to leave was an easy one to make because I was feeling so uneasy in my spirit.
Easy or not, the fact of the matter was there were so many great unknowns. Because of the magnitude of the storm, I wasn’t sure if we would have a house to come back to afterwards. We also had not taken many personal belongings because there simply wasn’t room in my small SUV. My job sits on the water. The damaged there was anticipated to be severe. Therefore, I had no idea if there would be a building to go come back to, which meant there may not be a job to come back to either. Most importantly, many of the people I cherish chose not to leave and that concerned me.
If focused on, I think that would be enough to cause anyone a great deal of stress. The good news is that I chose not to focus on any of that! Miss Irma was certainly a big ‘ole lemon but I chose to get the most good out of the situation she had caused.
We were nestled safely away in another state. The hotel was very nice and we enjoyed being pampered. My niece came with us and she was able to visit with friends she had not seen in a while.
I, too, was able to visit a cousin I had not seen in years. My daughter and niece had a chance to spend plenty of one-on-one time together and had a few memory making moments as a result. Those memories will last their life time. The girls went to a movie one day, and we tried a couple local restaurants we had never been to. In addition, I reconnected with a friend I worked with during the Olympics in Atlanta in 1997. Instead of using the away time to stress, I used the time to write and create.
It would have done no good to sit in the room and watch the weather channel continually. That would have stressed me. I was also very intentional about the extent of conversation I had with other people regarding the storm. Sometimes the chaos other people may be feeling in their spirit can override the calm we have in ours. I didn’t want to take that chance. I had to maintain an atmosphere of peace so that I could continue making and enjoying a little lemonade.
When I returned home I found my house in perfect order! There was hardly any tree debris in my front or back yard. Our old and worn out fence was still standing. The outdoor plant on the sidewalk leading up to our front door was in the same exact place as when we left. Our power was on as well. It felt as if we had returned home from a vacation instead of an evacuation.
Had I spent those days away stressing and worrying about all the valid things there were to be concerned with, it would have been for nothing. I realize I was fortunate to come home to that scenario. Not everyone was. But imagine evacuating, stressing over all the unknowns while away, and then having to come home and deal with them. That’s enough to wear down the strongest of individuals. In situations like this, it seems it would be so much better to make the most of the time away to give ourselves an opportunity to be refreshed and mentally prepared to tackle the challenges that may await us upon return.
I am grateful to have returned home to the absolute best case scenario. My heart hurts for those who lost loved ones, experienced property damage, are without power, etc. The seriousness of Hurricane Irma’s after effects does not elude me. My prayers are with everyone impacted.
When the next storm of life comes, whether it be an actual one or a metaphoric one, my hope is that you will squeeze all you can out of it and find the good.