When life gives you lemons…..


A recurring theme in my life in recent months has been the power of my thoughts and attitudes in relation to the world. It is almost to the point where I am irritated with myself to find that I am stuck once again in a tug of war between being righteously indignant about some perceived wrong and alternatively recognizing each situation as an opportunity to become a woman of godly character in both practice and word in spite of … or should I say because of my challenges?   

Micah 6:8 says: “He has shown you, O man (or woman) what is good and what the Lord requires of you… to walk justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”  Easier said than done when the figurative ‘hits keep coming’. I have always found it significantly easier to deal with the tangibles… ie. good vs. bad.  There are however terrible circumstances that we find ourselves in where there is no right and wrong … there is no ‘good guy’ or ‘bad guy’. In these circumstances it is almost an insurmountable hurdle to scale short of the grace of God intervening mightily.

I am thankful for the increase in sunny days over rainy days this week. This increase in gratefulness isn’t for the reason that you might be thinking. Although I do really enjoy the sun and warm days.. .the reason for this extra dose of gratitude is directly related to my ability to roll down the windows in my minivan following a recent incident.  I have even contemplated albeit briefly donning either a pair of ‘doggles’ to ride like a dog with my head out the window or wearing a mask and snorkel to help cope with the aftermath of  ‘the incident’.  I would give anything for a sunroof or a convertible about now….

Wednesday was a challenging day. It wasn’t to be so… but it turned out to be ‘one of those days’. I had settled in with my coffee after having sent my children off to school and my husband off to work. I was still sleepily making my ‘to do’ list for the day and somewhat contemplating a trip back to bed to get a bit of a handle on my sleep deprived state. However, I never got to that point. The phone rang at 8:05 a.m.. My daughter in tears stated that she wasn’t feeling well. I talked her through it and thought that we had an action plan in place… that if she still felt ill by lunchtime to give me a call. No such luck. My husband called me back at 8:25 a.m. telling me that our daughter had absolutely refused to get out of the vehicle and was now howling loudly in the  backseat of his truck. He had to go to work right away so I had to go and pick her up. Did I mention that I had my day more or less planned… and that I was still in my pyjamas?!? I threw on some clothes, a hat over my bed head, licked my finger to remove the sleepy from the corner of my eyes and off I went. I didn’t have time to do much with the dogs so I piled them into the van too thinking that at least they might enjoy the car ride… which they typically do. Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes later with dogs and daughter in tow we found ourselves about 3 minutes from home. The younger dog, our 3 1/2 month old Saint Bernard Bozley got very demanding and loud… I was thinking he was just hot and tired of being in the van. So I impatiently told him to hush… repeatedly. He tried to climb on my lap more than once and I persistently pushed him back. Finally, thinking that he had settled I looked back and saw him climbing up on the backseat of the van where Buttercup (our 3-year-old Saint Bernard) was napping. It was kind of cute actually with the young pup clambering all over her. I actually smiled to myself for a moment when I saw that. I returned my attention to the road… and then the smell hit me. My daughter looked back and saw that Bozley (the pup) was having a very loose bowel movement all over Buttercup and the backseat of the van… and then to finish up climbed down and continued to make another pile right in the middle aisle of the van too. I couldn’t get home soon enough at that point. I tore into our driveway while rolling down every single window and hurtled to a stop. I ripped open the doors and shouted for everybody to get out of the van “NOW!!!”. I would like to say that I handled this situation with grace and dignity… but I did not. My daughter who had scooted inside upon our arrival came back out to find me several minutes later on hands and knees in the van doing my best to clean up the mess. I was crying…. A LOT! By crying… I mean the big, loud, ugly kind of cry… the kind that could be heard for miles around. It was a cry of despair and discouragement that emanated from the depths of my very annoyed and disgusted being.  And then I started to laugh… the big, uncontrollable, tears streaming down the cheeks, crazy-person kind of laugh. The humour of the situation does not escape me. This is one of those moments where the expression ‘it is what it is’ applies. There was nobody to blame… except me for not having listened to Bozley’s pleas. It wasn’t my daughter’s fault for feeling ill and disrupting my schedule. This is one of those cases where you have to ask “what can I learn from this?” “How could I have handled it better?” “Where is the spiritual application?” (Yes… I really am asking God for a ‘life lesson’ to share with others from this — I know this might be a stretch).  

Perspective. It is pretty hard to keep a healthy perspective when you are knee-deep in doggy doo…. literally and figuratively. So what do we do with the daily challenges, disruptions, inconveniences, and even traumas that come our way? We cry out to the Lord God our Maker. “I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40) We can approach Him in all things…. even in those situations that result from our own wrong-choices… especially then! Within our own strength there is no way that we can maintain a godly perspective… but moment by moment as we commit ourselves to Him and approach Him with our needs in each situation He will help us to see the things in us and around us through His eyes. I wonder what He was thinking when He heard that particular cry in that particular moment?

If you see me in the next week or so… I’ll be the one driving with my head out the window… be sure to wave!

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