When Life Gives You Lemons

Each of us knows that life is a series of ups and downs.  The only thing that we can always count on is change.  Just when things are smoothly moving along, usually something will happen to shake us up a little (or a lot).

My father was a man of incredible integrity, dedication, and love.  He devoted his life to caring for others, his faith, and his family (with some golf thrown in there too).  My parents had 10 children, and while the money was often lacking, the love was abundant in our home.  My father would often say, “My wealth is in my family.”  When I was little, he worked 3 jobs to pay the bills.  He eventually retired from the NYPD and was offered a full-time position as custodian at our church and school where he had been working part-time.  He remained in that position for many years, becoming an integral part of not only the faith community but the town where we lived. 

Shortly after retiring from the church at age 72, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He wanted to stay at home and we all wanted to do everything we could to make this a reality for him. This was so unfair.  How could this be happening to a man who dedicated his entire life to the service of others? 

At that time of my life, I was fortunate enough to be able to take my 3 sons and dog and go to live with my parents to help my mother care for him.  One might argue that I was bringing more work than help and I might agree.  We knew he didn’t have long to live, Hospice was brought in, and everyone in the family did what they could to help my mother. 

One night my brother Andy came over and, as was the case with everyone who came, he noticed the decline in my father’s health.  He was upset and angry at the injustice of the whole situation.  Just when my dad was able to spend his days golfing and traveling to visit his kids/grandkids, his life was cut short.

Andy reminded me of this night years later. 

He said he would never forget that I said to him, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” 

The truth is that when the rest of us looked at my dad and thought of the situation as tragic, he himself was at peace.  He was ready to go home to be with his Lord.

Many times it is extremely difficult to make the “lemonade” out of the lemons, but that should be our ultimate goal.  Sit in peace and the “how” will come to you.

7 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons

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