When it comes to making lemonade, I’ll admit I’m the first to reach for the can of frozen concentrate. Just add water. As my seven-year-old son says, “Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy.”

But to make old-fashioned, fresh-squeezed lemonade, we have to get messy. Find the juicer and a knife. Cut the lemons in half, turn them upside down and ram them onto the point. Then press down and twist until all the juice drains out, leaving only an empty lemon peel. Repeat.

Last week, I blogged about Parenting Outside the Plan, when life doesn’t go according to our expectations. When we instead find ourselves with a few sour experiences. A child with developmental or health needs. A lost job. A personal health crisis. A relationship on the rocks. Lemons to be made into lemonade.

In real life, we don’t have the luxury of a canned response. Instead, we sometimes find outselves on the juicer. Turned upside down, stabbed in the middle, leaking juicy tears all over the place as our guts are ripped out until only an empty shell remains.

Graphic? Yes. Extreme? Maybe. Reality? Absolutely. Because human emotions are an unpredictable mess, especially under stress. Grief. Anger. Disappointment. Blame. Guilt. Denial. Fear. Embarrassment.  They can all spill out in unexpected moments and in no predictable pattern. They are a normal part of the human condition this side of heaven and nothing to be ashamed of.

Personally, I’d rather let them spill out than try to keep them bottled up. Because if you try to make lemonade while keeping the juice inside the lemons, well, you’re not going to get very far.

(The good news? After we’ve got the juice out of the lemons, the next ingredient is sugar! Stay tuned for next week’s installment.)

What about you? Do you consider your emotional reactions to events normal or extreme? Have you ever been on the “juicer” of life?

Not From Concentrate
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