“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman (American Theologian, Clergyman and Activist. 1900-1981)
Sometimes, the cup we are handed is full of lemons; sometimes, it is full of lemonade. Whatever we find in the cup that we are given to taste at this particular point in time, it might be important to note that, as at dinner time at your mother’s house, you won’t get a refill or something new to drink until you finish the drink you already have. Another way of saying this is that life is full of seasons, to a purpose.
Every part of our lives, each individual cup full of life circumstances, has things that can benefit us. For example, bitter coffee wakes us up, sour wine can relax us, tart lemonade refreshes and cools us. Too much of anything can be bad for us, but we can pull purpose for our lives as well as grow-up lessons out of each situation which faces us. A long wait can teach us patience, and if we can take our eyes off of our watches, we might look up and see the people around us, who could benefit from a smile, a “thank you”, a prayer, a word of encouragement (Nice shirt!). When our eyes are focused so close to ourselves all the time, we many times get the impression that the world revolves around us and no one is as worthy of blessing, respect, authority, or notice more than we are. The world is full of these kinds of people already and the results are plastered across cemeteries, the newspaper headlines, and missing children’s stories, among other things.
“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia (American guru, tireless advocate of the power of love, 1924-1998)
When we fail to learn the important life lessons early, we will get another chance, and another, and another. The message we seem to miss so many times is “clean your plate” or “drain your cup”. How many times do we really want to go through this same thing in this same way? Wasn’t it enough the first time? Drain the cup, learn your lesson, and move on. Be healed, be stronger, be wiser, be free!
Just as important is enjoying the drink when it is especially refreshing. We really need these times of respite in order to be able to face life’s hard times. Therefore, when you are handed a particularly delightful cup, drain it, and be rested so that tomorrow doesn’t find you weary, stressed, and unprepared. We do not always get to choose what we hold in our cup; but if we can learn to drain it even to its most bitter dregs, we can move on to be happier, more generous and whole human beings. That, I think we can all agree, is something that will benefit everyone.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 8-13