I’m sure most of us have heard the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Its one of those universal feel good sayings we pull out of our quivers when we are confronted with comforting someone who is suffering. Its ultimately a consolation that “life sucks” but an encouragement to try to make the best of it. Hopefully many of us will never know what it means to have to make this figurative lemonade. We may face challenges that we must overcome but they are challenges that ultimately have a resolution.
But what if you are faced with a challenge that has no resolution? A challenge whose effects can only be mitigated but not eliminated? Is this the type of situation where making lemonade becomes more then just a figurative phrase? For me, this has been the case. Receiving a diagnosis of a fibromyalgia was both a relief and a curse. I was blessed with finally knowing that my experience was real and that it was not normal. However, unlike the challenges I had faced before in my life, this one has no resolution. There are ways to mitigate its impact but it will never go away.
The weight of this revelation nearly crushed me when the relief of having a diagnosis finally faded. I was not going to get better, not at least until modern medicine found a cure. And I’m not holding my breath for that. If I did, I would likely faint endlessly.
Instead I am working to harness the courage to learn to embody the lessons that are so often shared but never fully internalized. I’ve been coached throughout life, like many others have I’m sure, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that the grass is always greener on the other side, that there is no time like the present, that when life gives you lemons make lemonade, that patience is a virtue, that I shouldn’t judge someone until I’ve walked a mile in there shoes, that honesty is the best policy, and so many more.
These proverbs are so often mentioned in off the cuff ways with relative frequency that their original intentions get lost in the humor and commonality of their use. But the funny thing about life with fibromyalgia is it gives you a jolting, eye opening, smack you in the face type of perspective. I’m sure there are other situations that have this benefit too.
So what do you do when you’re smacked in the face unexpectedly. Well, if you’re me you would stare dumbfounded straight ahead letting the tingling sensation in your cheek slowly ebb away. After the sting of the initial smack had dissipated you might let out a lot of swears…it would be an endless cacophony of…F***, S****, D***…you get the idea.
Then it might dawn on you how much time and energy is wasted on negativity. That the hatred or anger that you harbor against pieces of yourself or others usurps precious energy you don’t have. Its ironic when negativity becomes a luxury. You realize how much of your life you spent feeding it and in that moment you may begin to let it go.
I internalized all of this after my “smack in the face” from fibro. I found that the grass isn’t greener on the other side…its just my current viewpoint that makes it appear that way. That there really is no time like the present, because tomorrow you may be so sick you can’t move. These are the reasons why I am thankful for my curse as much as I am hindered by it. It is why I work hard to smile when I’m slapped and laugh at the ridiculousness of wasting time on negativity. I hope that by sharing this you may find the courage like I have to let go and begin to set yourself free…you may not always succeed but remember…
Its about the journey…
Hi, I'm Liz. I like to write about life and the wisdom I cull from it. I use words and images to inspire empathy and connection with each other and the world.