updated February 24, 2013
“I don’t know. Your cooking?” he answered. I almost forgot my joke.
“A hairless bear shivering with cold,” I answered.
stop a minute.
A hairless bear shivering with cold
I was right!
There really is nothing sadder in the world
than a hairless bear
shivering with cold
if you group all the sadder-in-the-world things that are truly freaky, scary funny
but not truly sad
a newborn baby who needs its stomach, which is pushed up into its lung area, put back
or the loss of life, homes, andjobs in Manilla after tropical cyclones wreaked havoc,
or the loneliness and hopelessness without God
After I’d dropped the two youngest brothers off at school, this bear teen and I set off to the high school. He didn’t look happy – and I’d always said growing up his first name should have been Joyful. He wasn’t joyful now.
I dove into my unabashed Q&A – there is something to be said for being one eye more awake than your children in the morning. Yes, only one eye more awake and driving. My Qs resulted in As that bemoaned sitting through classes with students who really didn’t want to be there, who spent their class time just irritating other students or whining.
“Choose Joy,” I said.
“You just can’t make joy,” he answered, only one eye awake.
“Joy is a choice,” I persisted. “It’s like lemons. What do you do when life gives you lemons? Make Lemonade.”
“Bam!” I thought! Grand slam. I was wide awake then. Kind of proud of myself.
“I don’t like lemonade,” he said, sliding his eyes toward me, his lips quirking in a quiet gotcha-smile.
When he got out of the car, reached back in to pull out his backpack, I smiled, “Make some lemonade today!”
Because each of my sons needs to learn that contentment, happiness, joy – requires choice to find the good in hard situations, when life just plain stinks, when it feels prayers aren’t answered and friends aren’t true. Sometimes only through sheer determination, keen look-out – can we make joy where none really exists.
I cried out to God to show me – and I have found joy in a flock of crows, in squirrels nests, in a quirky smile trying to be held back, in 5 acorns on a path.
St. Augustine said that the only difference between the pagan and the Christian, who suffer the same challenges, the only difference is how they handle those challenges. Because we have a God who loves, He provides an opportunity to turn those lemons into lemonade joy.
I texted this son later, “What’s the saddest sight in the world?”
“Your cooking,” he texted back.
“The Joy of the Lord is our Strength” (Neh 8:10)
That joy and laughter strengthen! God is so detail-oriented that He not only invented awe-inspiring joy, but tiny pockets of joy, release-valve joy, decreasing pressure and stress – the invention of unusual places to find moments of laughter that cause joyfulness to bubble up inside, bubbling into a smile, a funny, joyful moment- an indecisive squirrel in the middle of the road, a headless turtle, or a collie carrying the neighbor’s Christmas wreathes – and - yes, even in a hairless bear shivering with cold.
“Life is what you make it; Always has been. Always will be” (Grandma Moses)
Make Lemonade out of Lemons!
Make Lemonade Joy!
I pray you find joy and laughter today, not just in the sentimental, but in the unexpected. I pray that you make lemonade joy out of lemons. What are some unusual places you have found a burst of laughter and a spot of joy? What’s your recipe for Lemonade Joy?
Since a post on Lemonade Joy would be incomplete without some real lemonade, I thought I’d include my recipe. It’s a recipe that tastes better when shared:
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Quart Water
Lemon Slices and Blood Orange Slices