Words of wisdom often come from grandparents.
Inside Story | Doug Poling
I got lots of it from my maternal grandmother who lived with us when I was growing up. I guess I was about 8 or 9 years old when something unpleasant came into my life. I don’t remember what it was. It may have been a bad grade in school (I got lots of those). Or I may have come out on the losing end of a fight with a neighborhood kid (I had my share of those, too).
But Grandma was always there to console. A great shoulder to cry on. After I tearfully told her my tale of woe, she looked at me with the gentle smile that good Grandmas have. She said, quietly, “When you have a lemon, make lemonade.”
At my tender age, I didn’t know what she meant. But I do now.
I have been taught about making lemonade by people such as Celeste Corcoran. She is one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing almost a year ago. Corcoran recently took a big step forward toward full recovery when she ran for the first time since losing her legs. That was at a running clinic in Cambridge, Mass., held for victims of the bombing.
Using her new prosthetic legs and supported by a volunteer on each arm to keep her from falling, Corcoran said she wants to do the things she did before. “So many people have my back … I feel like I can do it.”
Corcoran even managed a joke. “I’ve always wanted to be a runner but I used to get shin splints. I don’t have shins anymore, so I’m hoping.” Her goal is to eventually join in a 5K or fun run.
This is indeed making lemonade from lemons. It is pure courage. A demonstration of the best in the human spirit. Sheer determination not to allow the devastating injuries perpetrated by men with poisoned hearts to ruin one’s life.
The Bible is filled with stories of such people. I think of those mentioned in the 11th chapter of Hebrews
. Moses, for example, who, the text says, chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Those who were tortured. Who faced jeers and flogging. Who were stoned, sawed in two, who were put to death by the sword.
Hate-filled men who did these things to them could not kill their faith. Nor could they snuff out the spirit and the faith given them by God. Just as the Muslim extremists who planted those bombs in Boston could not destroy the spirits of their victims, such as Celeste Corcoran.
The bombers were men made captive by evil. They could not bear to stand in the light of good people doing good things. They are like the people who killed Jesus. Like the ones who stoned Stephen. Those who killed the apostles.
The lemonade that comes from these lemons is the example given to the rest of us: That, no matter what terrible things come our way, we will not allow them to take away our faith, our courage, our humanity. The deaths of Biblical martyrs only fueled the flames of the fires of faith, spreading them across the entire world. They serve as examples, even to those of us living hundreds of years later. They inspire us. They help us to endure. They are the lemonade.
At the running clinic for the amputees in Cambridge, David Driscoll, a doctor who observed Celeste Corcoran and the others said, “I don’t say ‘There, but for the grace of God go I.’ I say, ‘How can I be more like them?’ ”
That’s making lemonade out of lemons.