A few months back I walked into my kitchen and noticed a half eaten lemon sitting on the placemat of Eric’s normal side of the table. “Nooooo… He seriously is not eating lemons?!”, I thought to myself as my mouth starting salivating thinking of the tartness of lemon peel and juice hitting my tastebuds. Why on earth would he eat a lemon? And it wasn’t as if it were one bite and he learned his lesson, this was a good two or three legit bites as if he were crunching into an apple. While I can’t relate to enjoying eating a lemon, I figured it could be worse and at least there’s probably some nutritional value in it.
We were out to eat a week or so later and my suspicion was confirmed. As usual, I ordered a lemon for my water. The waiter came and sat it in front of me. Eric, sitting directly across from me looked at me.. then my lemon.. and like a thief in the night snagged it in the blink of an eye and popped the whole wedge into his mouth. I sat there watching his face still almost in disbelief he could do it. But he did. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. I stared at his mouth, waiting for him to realize how terrible it tasted and spit it out. Nope. All the way down the hatch it went.
Like any mom would, I went to the almighty, all knowing, internet and researched eating lemons. I was pretty surprised to find out they are really good for you. Even more so when you eat them whole. Now, I’ll cut them up for him and let him have at it. Thinking of it, I’m going to add some limes to the mix!
As I searched eating lemons, I kept coming across the old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. It got me to thinking. Why lemonade? Lemonade is sweet, refreshing and quenches your thirst. The “lemons” in life are usually just as the lemon itself,.. bitter, sweet, full of pulp, hard to swallow and complex. While yes, you could squeeze the juice out, mix it with some sugar and enjoy only the sweetness of the lemon you were given, what about everything else? The tough rind, the indestructible seeds, the bitterness? How are we to grow through life’s challenges unless we take it all in and truly accept the entire lemon?
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” they say. When life gives you lemons… I say eat them suckers. Don’t give that lemon a pass. Chew it up and take it in. Every challenge we face be it a loss, a health scare, depression, uncertainty about the future… whatever it is… we grow because of it. Understanding that in these moments, they will one day make sense. Digesting although the rind is tough, the seeds will burrow, the bitterness will last, but that the juice.. it can be sweet.
Eat that lemon and show life you’re not playing around. You’ll take its best shots and be better because of it. You’ll accept the things you cannot change and learn to change the things you can. You’ll know that that lemon was meant for you and not a mistake. You will be stronger. Make that lemon a part of you and allow it to be a catalyst for personal growth.
What’s your lemon? Does it debilitate you? Keep you awake at night? Perhaps it’s still a lemon to be had that you’ve been avoiding for fear of facing it? The road to success, personal discovery and true peace is usually lined with lemon bombs. The next time you encounter one I hope you can remember to be like Eric and JUST EAT IT.