Sunday, July 3, 2022

When Life Gives You Lemons ...

We've all been there. We've all had those bumps in the road. Sometimes, they're tiny little bumps, and we get past them fairly easily, not really noticing that they're there. Other times, they're big bumps. They're meant to slow us down. They're called speed bumps when we're driving through a parking lot. They force us to slow down.  

This is what life does for us. It's a metaphor used over and over again, comparing bumps in the road as we drive our cars, to the trials we have in our lives. We're happily living our lives, just going along, then we come to a bump. A little bump, like having to renew our driver's license or that the vacuum cleaner has quit, are easy. They're time consuming, but doable. Thank goodness, most bumps are small like that. But every now and then, there's a big one. Every now and then, we come to a big bump: We have an accident that totals our car; we lose a loved one; we find out we have a incurable disease. What do we do?

There's other metaphors we use for life, like, "When life throws you a curve ball," or "When life gives you lemons." 

These metaphors set us up for the question, "What do we do?" 

I love my gardens. I love growing my tomatoes every year, a nice crop of cilantro, and, of course, my sunflowers.


Gardens take time. Having gardens in my life make me slow down, most of the time. 

This summer, with the help of my family, I recently re-landscaped my front yard. We live in Southern California, and the whole state is suffering from a severe drought. I am always wanting to do my part in life, I am always trying to contribute to the bigger picture. So, one of the ways I knew I could help the bigger picture of the drought situation in Southern California is by changing the watering habits of our property. Going drought tolerant was the best and most logical solution. We removed the front lawn of Saint Augustine grass, and I designed and planted a new. drought tolerant park-like scene. This was perfect for me, because I love to garden. I love any kind of garden, flowers, vegetables, or drought tolerant. I am so in love with my new front yard. It was a big project that I really wanted to get done.


Re-landscaping the front yard was not a bump in my road. It was a project that kept me busy. I am constantly trying to stay busy because, recently, I learned I have rheumatoid arthritis. This diagnosis was a long time coming, as I had been having symptoms of the disease, but always attributed the symptoms to something else. A simple blood test set me straight. 

This diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is a big bump in my road. I feel like life has thrown me a curve ball. I feel like life as given me lemons. I feel like I haven't written a blog for a while because I have been dealing with pain and fatigue for so long, I just didn't have it in me to write. I have been feeling very sad and very fearful of my future. I was not expecting a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I had no understanding of the disease, and as I have educated myself, I feel like my sadness and my fear has increased. This is a very big bump in my road. Life has thrown me a curve ball. Life has given me lemons. What do I do?

Why do they put large speed bumps in a parking lot? Obviously to slow people down. Driving fast in a parking lot is just asking for bigger problems. Speed bumps slow us down. The bigger the speed bump, the slower we go. That's what we do. We slow down.

When I learned that I have rheumatoid arthritis, I didn't slow down. I went into denial about it, and if I'm being honest, I'm still a little in denial. I also keep myself distracted from it by staying busy. Staying busy and having rheumatoid arthritis do not mix. So, as much as I try to deny it to myself, and as much as I try to distract myself by staying busy, I get reminded that it's there even more so, because staying busy unfortunately brings more pain.

I have a problem with not being busy. Another metaphor we like to use is, "Life is short." Life IS short, so I want to enjoy as much of it as I can by being busy. I want to have projects, like re-landscaping my front yard. I want to have another project as soon as possible. I don't want to slow down! But, rheumatoid arthritis won't let me stay busy. Rheumatoid arthritis is forcing me to slow down.

Is slowing down bad? Is slowing down wrong? In my mind, my answer to both those questions was, "Yes." But, I have been so tired and so sad. I don't know why I have been having trouble finding a sense of peace when I love staying busy.

Then, I went to church. I'm a firm believer that God talks to us often, we just have to know how to listen. I have been so consumed by my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and fighting what it means to my life that I forgot to listen. God really does work in mysterious ways. He definitely got my attention recently. The theme of the mass was all about peace and rest. Essentially, it was about slowing down.

There's a song we sing at church sometimes. It's called, "Be Not Afraid." The words of the chorus are, "Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest." Peace and rest are very important to God. Remember, God rested on the seventh day. If God rested, rest is ok. Slowing down is ok. It isn't bad or wrong. It's necessary. God rested and appreciated all the days He was busy creating. What a concept! Appreciating what you do, taking time to feel good about something is healthy! Taking time. Resting and taking time to be happy automatically gives you peace. 

There's another metaphor that I really love, but because of my rheumatoid arthritis, I have recently forgotten it. The metaphor is "Stop and smell the roses."

What this metaphor means is that it's important we slow down and appreciate the beauty of life. I was good at smelling the roses before having rheumatoid arthritis. I still am, I've just forgotten. I'm good at gardening, which takes time. I'm good at re-landscaping. I'm good at a lot of things, but it doesn't mean I need to keep doing them, one after another, constantly, as a distraction. I need to remember to take a minute or two and appreciate what I've done. 

I have rheumatoid arthritis. It's my most recent bump in my road. Life has thrown me a curve ball and has given me lemons. What do I do? It took me a little while, but I figured it out. I am not alone in my rheumatoid arthritis. God goes before me always. I think I will continue to follow Him, and He will give me rest.

And, every now and then, when life gives me lemons, I will make lemon poppyseed cookies!

No comments:

Post a Comment

When Life Gives You Lemons ...