I firmly believe that reflection on the past is an invaluable part of life. It often takes bravery, diligence and a healthy dose of honesty; however, when we take the time to sit and reflect, we receive the gift of a clearer look at our personal story. This adjustment of perspective can be humbling and sometimes crippling, but when we approach it with true intentions, it is always rewarding.
Some of my biggest “a-ha” moments come when I sit down in retrospection and start sifting through the messy pile of my previous experiences. I’ll remember triumphs with pride or admittedly skirt around some not-as-bright moments. I’ll smile recalling genuine efforts or memories with those I love. I’ll be filled with emotion as I recall times I couldn’t have made it alone. But there are some thoughts that stand apart and make me think. More than think -- dwell. They’re the most remarkable reflections I’ve ever had: the times I skipped the lemons. I know what you’re thinking, you can’t skip the lemons and still end up with lemonade. But I earnestly believe you can.
We’ve all had them. Times when we skip the struggle and get the prize. Times when the good guy wins. Times when the timing is just right. Whatever we infer them to be, grace or coincidence, deserved or not, we cannot skim over these times. They mean something. People enter our lives at just the right time. We take the risk and it pays off tenfold. Everything comes together despite the impossible, and you can’t begin to explain how. Lemonade. The sweetness without the sour, the calm without the storm, a gift of grace. I’m not saying this happens often, but I am saying it is significant. Unspeakably so. We have to look at these moments for what they are: great insights that can be applied to our future.
So what can we gather from these times? What are questions we can ask ourselves to learn about our past and therefore impact our future? How can we dwell in the absence of lemons?
Search. In the moment, maybe it seemed awful, but in hindsight it could have gone a whole lot worse. When are times we have been delivered from such trials?
Acknowledge. What was the source of this good gift? Chances are we had help, whether we recognized it at the time or not. Maybe this source of assistance plays a bigger role in our lives than we originally thought.
Inspire. We can allow the impact of these times to transform our current perspective. This can be used as motivation to make similarly significant differences in someone else’s story.
After contemplating these things, we should feel more empowered to examine our past and really see the difference these times have made in our lives. We can then use this to encourage and will us to make a difference in the lives of others; perhaps starting by pouring someone else a glass of lemonade.