I can’t stand coffee and only tolerate tea. When it comes to soda (tonic to you New Englanders) it just isn’t worth the calories or, in its slimmed-down version, the chemicals.
But there’s one drink of choice I am willing to pay $4 for at the county fair: lemon shake up.
It’s fun to place the order and watch the vendor spring into action: juicing the lemons, adding sugar and then the ice, water, and lemon halves into a tall glass and shakin’ it all up. Totally refreshing.
Lemon shake ups are made up of a lot of sweet and a little sour. You can’t tell where one ingredient leaves off and the other begins.
Life’s a lot like that too. I meet with a fabulous group of college women who are studying spiritual formation on Sunday evenings, and another group of young moms in a parenting program on Wednesday nights. When we share prayer requests each week I am struck by how these wonderful women cheer each other on in the happy times. “Sweet!” they’ll say when a victory is reported or a child makes progress after lots of prayer.
But I also see the compassion in their eyes when a group member shares a loss or haltingly tells of a relationship that has soured. No judgment is rendered; often no advice is given. The group members hold each other’s hearts and confidences.
And in each group we turn to a Source far more significant than ourselves. The psalms are a favorite source of inspiration. The Psalmist never shied away from pouring out his pain. “O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.” (Ps. 5: 1-2 NLT).
And he also shows us where to go when our spirits need a lift: “The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 19:7; 73:26).
Feeling all shook up today? It’s part and parcel of this glorious thing called life.