You’ve all heard the expression “When life hands you lemons, make some lemonade”.

Well, I had one of those life situations the other day, so I thought I would share it with you. Now before I get started I should tell you up front that the “lemon” I was handed was hardly worth making a fuss over. And when compared to some of the real problems others are facing, it pales in comparison. Be that as it may, I want to tell the story because the “lemonade” part of the story is well worth it.

A couple of days ago I went outside to mow the lawn. I grabbed my trimmer and trimmed around the shrubs and landscape just like I do every week. I then filled the mower with gas and pulled the rope to start the mower, except the rope wouldn’t pull no matter how hard I tried. Uh oh, I thought, this is not good. Especially since I just got the mower out of the shop a week and a half ago for the very same problem!

No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the starter rope to pull. Of course, I knew exactly what was wrong with it. The valves in the engine needed adjusted. Just like they did a week and a half ago! By this time the Princess is looking at me through the garage door, offering advice as only she could. “Maybe you should anoint it with oil and pray over it” she says. Funny, that’s not at all what I was thinking. I was actually thinking of a spot in the ocean where I could toss the mower off of a bridge! Being the (somewhat) dutiful husband that I am however, I prayed for the mower to start. Not happening.

So, it’s back to the dealer again for another 60 mile round trip in traffic I am in no mood to deal with. As we settle in for the drive, I’m quietly contemplating this mowers demise when all of a sudden the Princess says to me “well, we always like these drives anyway”. “Of course you would say that” I tell her. It’s just like her to try to put a positive spin on everything. Like when we were loading the mower in the SUV she said “there must be a reason why you weren’t supposed to mow the lawn today”. Sure, I thought to myself. On a day when it’s not hot out but sunny, mild, and breezy and I was actually looking forward to getting outside to mow…THIS HAPPENED!

So we drop the mower off and the Princess turns to me and says “you want to go to the beach”? Well, that’s a no brainer I say to myself. So instead of coming home we head to the beach, which is just a few miles from where we were. Fortunately, its still early in the tourist season so finding a parking spot was a breeze.

So, like a couple of love struck teenagers we start walking towards the beach, holding hands like we always do. As we get to the beach, it hits me. That familiar feeling I always get when I go there. Peace and relaxation suddenly displace the stress, frustration, and anxiety that had built up over the mower issue. A silly, ridiculous, ‘what was I so upset about mower issue’.

For the next hour and a half we stroll the beach, picking up the occasional pretty shell or in the case of the Princess, a sharks tooth. She has an uncanny ability to spot those things in the sand. We have them everywhere in jars of shells and sand. She has one that is a couple of inches long that she found many years ago. No way I’d want to meet the shark that lost that tooth!

Walking in the surf, listening to the crashing waves, feeling the warm sand on our feet, all of that made me realize that yes indeed, there was a reason why I wasn’t supposed to mow the lawn that day. There were better, more important things I was supposed to be doing instead. And you know what? We needed that time at the beach. The hectic pace I’ve been keeping these past few months hasn’t left much time for fun things like walking on the beach. Which, as if you didn’t already know, is NOT the way to spend retirement!

image courtesy of Ron Whited

The next time life throws you a curveball, or hands you a bowlful of lemons, try to remember that whatever the situation, it will pass eventually. We just never know what tomorrow is going to bring us. For that matter, we don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow! All the more reason not to sweat the small stuff. Perspective is a powerful thing isn’t it? It can make all the difference in how we see things and in what kind of attitude we have.

All of us have so many things to be thankful for. Now, I think I’ll have another glass of that lemonade!

Ron