Friday, May 21, 2010

When life hands you lemons....throw them back.

I was stuck in Boston traffic, behind a car the other day that had all of these happy sayings on it. Of course it had, in very bright yellow, the ubiquitous, "When life hands you lemons...make lemonade" bumper sticker.

The day was long and was not a good one. Too many patients, all too young, dying too soon. I was in no mood for a pep talk.

The world expects us to be happy and carefree most of the time. We often say to co-workers, friends and family to "cheer up", that things will get better, that it can't be all that bad. That you will get over it.


But sometimes it is that bad. Or it just feels really bad. And there are some things that we may just never get over. No matter hard hard we try.

We just bury it down deep within.

We don't always have to accept bad news gracefully. We can sometimes get mad. Or sad. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to wallow in a bad day once in awhile. Maybe I don't want to make light of a situation that hurt me. Perhaps I am right in feeling sad because I miss my dad on Father's day or because I have a sick child at home. Why does everyone feel the need to always cheer everyone up?

I can remember one Christmas day, the Christmas after my father died. I was sad for a moment because I missed him. It was the first Christmas in my lifetime without him. Someone asked me why I looked sad. I told them. They said, "Well, he died months ago. Aren't you over it yet?"

The person was well meaning and had not suffered a life-altering loss in their life. At least not yet. So they had no perspective. I cut them a break and did not get angry.

I understood why they wanted me to be happy. It was their day, too. And no one likes a Debbie-Downer in their midst. I get that.

Life is constantly handing us lemons, lets face it. And we are supposed to make the best of it. But can't we just once in awhile throw the lemons back? Not always have to pretend that everything is okay?

Sometimes things are simply not okay.

That is not to say that we should constantly have a pity party for ourselves or ruin festive occasions for others by being morose. If you are that upset and sad, sometimes it is best to wallow in it all alone, at least for a moment or two.

But you don't have to act happy all of the time and deny yourself your true feelings, either.

We all have sorrows. We have all had bad days and many will have more bad days to come. Some people are better equipped to handle sorrow than others. Some have a much heavier load of sorrows than others.

I know. Life isn't fair. Not fair at all.

But the bad happens to us all. It is just that our perspectives are all different. All unique. What is a life-altering experience for one could be just a passing nuisance for another.

Hopefully the good days will outweigh the bad and we can have a healthy balance. That is really the best that we can hope for.

So, when you are dealt a bad hand, don't always just play along. Sometimes it is okay to fold or to say, 'I don't like this hand, please deal me another.' We don't always have to accept fate or circumstance with a smile. We don't always have to play nice. We don't always have to be happy. Sometimes is okay not to smile. Not to have a good day.

As for the lemons, I have to say, I have always hated lemonade anyway. And I hate bad things as well. And I am not sure that we can always make a situation better.

We can cheer our own selves up though knowing that everyone, smiling or not, has had bad days. We are really all in this together. None of us are alone. We are not alone in our sorrows, our loss, our bad day.

And if that makes the lemons less bitter, than maybe lemons aren't so bad after all.

“We can be lights for each other, and through each other’s illumination we will see the way. Each of us is a seed, a silent promise, and it is always spring.”
~~~Merle Shain

"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle."
~~~Robery Alden

"Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos."
~~~David Cronenberg

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