Life is going to give us lemons, it's an inevitability. The issue becomes not how to eliminate them but how to manage those lemons. Instead of perceiving their sourness as something to begrudge, it behooves us to uncover the opportunities they might present to us. Will we let the lemons sour us in like kind or will we rise to the occasion and uncover a mystery about them? We might get angry about the way a lemon burns an open wound but we could also be glad it is a natural astringent, killing the bacteria and protecting us from infection.
This quest for peace when life is a puzzle, isn't easy. It requires staying tuned in to the bigger picture while we fuss over the infinite, sometimes microscopic details that become the compilation of the grand design. It demands that we put our whole selves: our desires, our passions, our grief, our pain, our suffering, our love, our joy and our hope, into something other than ourselves. Without a surrendering of all that we are to this puzzling life, we will never find peace in the grand design, we will never look at our mountain of lemons and see a refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot summer's day.
The other difficult lesson on this journey for peace despite the pain, is patience. A beautiful quilt is never finished in short order. The patterns are painstakingly fussed over, the pieces precision cut and sewn together, the quilting done stitch by stitch for hours on end.
After all the labor and love, a finished quilt might still be a ruined quilt. If the process of choosing the fabric: prints, layout, and colors, was not done with patience, if the bigger picture of the finished design was not considered in this process, it will be for naught. The quilt will be a garish blur of mottled colors and shapes, making the viewer nauseated and dizzy. All for the want of patience and an understanding of the grand design.
Some days I just want to scream, I want to gnash my teeth, I want to punch walls and break things. I want to do something physical because inside, I hurt so intensely that words seem ridiculously empty in my attempt to say it. "GOD! This life hurts!" I did all the right things, I was a "good girl" that obeyed and respected and strove for the straight and narrow when I was often surrounded by others that didn't give a rip about right and wrong. I looked up at the wondrous cross and said to myself that I wouldn't let the blood of Christ be shed in vain for me. I vowed that every step I took on this earth would be for His glory. And yet I met the face of pain. All those prosperity teachings and Jabez prayers and ten-fold returns for my faithful tithing? Boy howdy, how I want to punch the crap out of all that nonsense! I just want to make it through another day without crying! I want to go to sleep at night knowing I'm loved more than I'm hated. I want the fruits of the Spirit to be poured out on me with the same measure I pour them out on others. I've had to make peace with the fact that what I want in this life, matters little.
I speak to my readers, my friends, my family. If you are caught up in your pain, if peace is miles away from your grasp, if the puzzle you're trying to assemble seems impossible, then perhaps you have forgotten to look at the complete picture. All the pieces fit together, it just might not be in the way you want it to. It might not even create the picture you think you're working on. Instead of fighting against the inevitable, instead of throwing lemons in anger, pain and despair, find the missed opportunities, dig deeper inside yourself and look harder at the pieces in your hand to find your peace. I'm right with you, sorting through my own pile of pieces, desperately clinging to the peace I've finally found, laughing in joy and sipping my half-full glass of lemonade.