Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Smart Art of Making 
Lemonade from Lemons
Several years ago my then brand new car was wrecked at an intersection, because a fellow was woolgathering instead of thinking and sailed through a red light at top speed destroying my car in the process. Miraculously, I wasn't hurt at all. If I had been eight to ten inches farther out into the intersection, I might have been killed or maimed. Instead, I thanked God for His great kindness in sparing me, and spent the next two hours trying to console the motorist who hit my car. 

The poor fellow  was a shuddering, shivering wreck and I really felt sorry for him, believe it or not. So, I reminded him how lucky we both were that neither one of us was hurt, and that his station wagon had suffered only minor damage. After we dealt with the police we went to breakfast together. He was a poor, middle-aged Chinese man –– a restaurant worker who was trying to put a son through college, –– but he insisted on treating me to breakfast.

At any rate, after that I decided it made a lot more sense for me to take the roughly $15,000.00 his insurance company paid me within a week and remodel my kitchen than to plunk it all down on another car, which is always a non-investment anyway. So, I did a little research and found the best deal available for leasing a car which worked out splendidly. I was able to have my cake and eat it too.

The point is this: When life hands you a lemon, don't whine about it –– think creatively, and MAKE LEMONADE.


  1. This is a wonderful story.

    If only all lemons could be made into lemonade!

    The "secret," I think, is to discern when making lemonade is possible.

    1. Exactly right, AOW. I do believe,however, that keeping ourselves open to what might be the best possible outcome for any type of adversity may actually "protect" us from the worse aspects of the dreadful potentialities that seem continually to stalk us wherever we go no matter what we do.

      I'm anything but saintly, yet my first thought on meeting the shivering wreck of a human being who had just demolished my still-new Toyota Scion was concern for his condition. I credit my religious training, which fostered my fairly rigorous determination to put consideration for others first for that.

      I credit God with giving me the presence of Mind to think through the possibilities open to me in this unexpected crisis, and to find the best way to turn it around so it might work to my advantage without inflicting unnecessary harm to others..

      I am grateful I never felt the least bit of anger at the poor fellow who hit me, and never felt he deserved any further punishment than he had already gotten for his lapse of thought. All I could think was, "There but for the Grace of God go I."

      Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil ..."

      The simple precepts we learn by rote in early childhood stand us in good stead later on when we really need them –– if we don't let failure, disappointment, bitterness and cynicism ruin our faith.

    2. Oh, for Christ's sake, I've had the same sorts of things happen to me, had the same reaction, and am not the least bit religious nor was any religious training necessary. It's called being a decent human being. You don't need silly childish old anachronistic myths for that. You are no more or less an animal with or with God. If anything, without, you are more advanced.


    3. It is for Christ's sake, Jersey, that I accept you warts and all, and do my best to build a friendship with you. It is because of my love for Him that I am able to see beyond your churlish, fractious exterior and realize you are a basically decent person with a good heart.

      Haven't you noticed that I do not try to beat your aggressive stance against faith out of you with insults and curses? I don't even try to argue you out of it. Since I saw the real you some time ago, and realized you were a unique individual and not just a mindless groupie, I accepted you as a fellow good guy.

      I do wonder, however, why you feel compelled to respond with such vehemence –– and apparent anger –– to mild and agreeable sentiments giving credit to the something bigger, better and more important than my little self?

      I've never told you you had to share my views on faith, so why do you feel compelled to tell me I'm a fool to benefit from my determination to rely on Love, Truth, Spirit and Governing Principle?

      Whether you choose to recognize or not, all the good in you is godly, but I don't say you have to use the same terminology I use in order to be counted as a friend.

      Won't you try to give me the same courtesy?

    4. Miss Gunderson, Second Grade TeacherJune 9, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      Why? Because Jersey is a hideous ogre, a foul-mouthed, oafish lout!

      What do you expect from liberals. They live to tear everything down.

    5. Miss G, you are no better, yourself, for taking such a rude approach to this attempt at civil discourse. If I had school age children, I certainly would not want you to exert any influence on them. Have you never heard the scriptural admonition: "Return not Evil for Evil?"

      You may mean well, but I think you are wrong to do as too many tend to do, and that is to take the worst aspects of another's outward behavior as the characteristic that best defines him or her.

      Even if you are not wrong, your attitude is certainly counter-productive. Please try to be more charitable It's better for your health, and bound to be more beneficial to society.

  2. stomp, snort, and gruntJune 9, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    Religious values, specifically Christian values, are based in altruism. Admirable yet with more than a hint of socialist underpinnings.

    Lemons are a wonderfully healthy fruit with many benefits. Making good lemonade is an art. Most use too much sugar thus making it unhealthy.

    Great post FreeThinke.

    1. "Socialist underpinnings?"

      Christianity came first. Please don't fall into the diabolical left's "Jesus was a socialist"

      Christianity is giving of yourself, forming a church of like-minded people and sharing, each of his or her volition.

      Socialism is shaking down one group and 'spreading it around' to other (while pocketing most of it yourself, if you're in the ruling class).

    2. Bla bla bla. You're making a stupid semantic argument.

      Jesus was a humanist, far more socialistic than ANY conservative in America, who, by the way, would be considered like a Roman pagan as far as Jesus would have been concerned in his day.


    3. Jersey,
      Explain how Jesus is 'socialistic.'

    4. I don't think that Jersey is making that claim. Would you say that Jesus was a capitalist? (not that you made that claim either)

    5. Jez,
      As you probably agree, applying such modern terms to a historical figure is sloppy. He neither tried to collectivize Palestine, nor did he start a bank, so far as we know.

      Jersey used the term 'more socialistic.' It's a grinning little tweak that makes leftwingers fell giddy when they say it, so I want him to explain himself.

      Saying Jesus was 'highly cromulent' is just as relevant.

    6. Certainly there are innumerable intellectual arguments that can –- and have –– been made both for and against cultivating and cherishing faith in an almighty, omnipresent, wholly benevolent, loving God, but in the final analysis we cant eliminate the element of irrationality in either position.

      As I tried to say to Jersey above, why we cannot just accept our differences, stop trying to beat each other into submission either with argument, derision, rude challenges, or by main force I do not know.

      I choose to have faith in God and in the redeeming power of the Example set by His Son, Jesus Christ. There never has been and never will be any LEGITIMATE way to COMMAND anyone else to do likewise.

      Whenever we resort to threats, badgering, insults, or legalistic argument and bullying by cross examination in order to try to persuade others they are wrong and we are right we tread on dangerous ground, and our efforts are likely to produce negative, deeply unpleasant –– even tragic –– results.

      It always boils down to the same old shibboleth:

      The only thing we cannot afford to tolerate is intolerance, itself.

    7. Jesus is perfectly cromulent IMO.

    8. "Cromulent" is not a legitimate word. It is a recent coinage by some Smart Alec named Cohen. It is not found in any of the many standard dictionaries on which I rely, and is, apparently, used mostly by other Smart Alecs –– one of those unneeded things with which a certain type of person parades around in order to make others think he far ahead of the game. ;-} I'm not against coining new words, since I do it, myself, quite often, but it should be done to clarify meaning not obscure it. So there!

    9. I knew we'd get the police out with that one ;-)

  3. Replies
    1. Lots of perfectly decent people have been persuaded to believe in the modern mythology that stems from Hegel-Marx-and the Fabians. We'd all do better if we stopped using labels, and tried instead to get down to the essence of human motivation and how the fondest hopes and dreams and the best of intentions of many can go awry when they get perverted by master manipulators into serving the interests of Envy, Spite, Malice, Greed and Sloth.

  4. stomp, snort, and gruntJune 9, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    Jersey, with his specific remark was correct. Jesus was more concerned with the total of society than the individual; Christ said, and we paraphrase, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven.

    Envy, spite, malice, greed, and sloth has at ways been a bipartisan pursuit; and the honest person knoweth it.

    Manipulation has certainly been observed from every side and angle of humanity as well.

    1. I have to disagree. Jesus was all about transforming the individual's viewpoint through a radically different way of coping with and evaluating whatever challenges maybe encountered. There is nothing collective and certainly nothing coercive in Christ's way of finding a purpose in life and achieving ultimate fulfillment of one's individual potential –– a phenomenon most refer to as "Salvation."

      Jesus Christ was anything but an authoritarian statist determined to exert EXTERNAL CONTROL over ALL mankind. Remember He said, "My Kingdom is not of this world." We should take our cue from that.

      In essence the Gospels are not about conquest of anything BUT our fear-inspired selfishness and lack of charity.

    2. stomp, snort, and gruntJune 9, 2015 at 5:46 PM

      Forgive me for my oversight in not specifying that my intent was NOT to frame Christ as an authoritarian, he decidedly was not.

      My understanding is giving of oneself for the benefit of others defines Christianity. Christ himself gave the ultimate, he sacrificed himself so that others may be forgiven of their sins.

      It is possible my view this relates to society in total may be in error but I think not. An individual sacrificing their life for all seems to me to be quite socialistic. And individual act for the benefit of all is IMO both altruistic and socialistic.

      BTW, democratic socialism is not authoritarian by definition. Or am I and Jersey missing something?

  5. Where could we find advocacy for the violent overthrow of established power, the ancient eye for an eye concept of justice, or justification for hatred and contempt of anyone in these classic precepts?

    Matthew 5: 1-12 (KJV)

    And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

    And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    But what does He mean by "heaven?" Most want to believe He said there can be no reward, no justice, no hope for goodness and mercy till after death.

    I prefer to believe He meant that "Virtue is its own reward," and that our earthly experience is bound to be far healthier, lovelier, lovelier, –- possibly even exhilarating –– no matter what "the world" may do to us, if we do our best to live by Christ's Example and follow His advice.

  6. FreeThinke, when I was college age, living in Los Angeles, I met a bunch of American Buddhists. Nice folks, mostly aspiring actors, writers, performers, stuff like that. Nice young folks. Give ya' the shirt off their back. They took me to their temple in Rancho Cucamunga, and there were television and movie stars, businessmen and athletes, you name it. I met John Astin there! (Huge fan!) All the while they knew full well I was not a Buddhist and was unconvinced of the merit of their spirituality. And so after treating me to a great time for little while, hanging out with the gang, and trying their best to convince me to join their Buddhist world, they stopped coming around. Nice folks, just convinced they could somehow game around with the universe. Sort of like Prosperity Philosophy Christians, but easy-going.

    I do not believe, FreeThinke that you need God to be a good person. Being a smart and nice person was around long before your religious tradition. I think if you were a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or didn't buy any of it, you, FreeThinke, would be a good person just the same. And a little nuts. ;) And it's nice, I suppose, that you credit your faith for your attitudes and behavior, but to say that without it you'd be a sociopath isn't very flattering to anything.


    1. I never said I'd be a "sociopath" without it, just a great deal weaker and less focused. I spent several years involved with Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, myself, Jersey back in my New York days. I found their ritual very helpful in focusing my attention on what truly needed to be done each day and what was extraneous. The ritual helped sort out the difference. I never found it incompatible with my Christianity, and they never encouraged me to divorce myself from Christianity.

      I'm not one of those "Christians" who want to assume that anyone who doesn't see things precisely his way is doomed for eternity. Of course that makes many fellow Christians want to believe I am not one of them.

      That in my view is THEIR problem not mine.

      You go your way, I'll go mine, and we're far more likely to meet on common ground one day, if we let each other be himself, than if we try to "destroy" one another's views with endless argument.

      The world at large is NOT a gigantic courtroom where we should be TRYING each other all the time.

    2. Jean d'Arc Harriman, III said

      God bless you, sir.

    3. snort, stomp, and gruntJune 10, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      Jersey, Buddhism is not a religion, it is more a philosophy and seeks to create or find balance. I toyed with it for a brief time. Good stuff actually but wasn't disciplined enough.

      Buddhists don't war.

    4. Buddhists don't war.

      Universalized Indifference does has that effect.

  7. I studied Buddhism quite a bit. There's much to it. I'd say there's more to it than Christianity, to be honest. It's compatible with other faiths, it's not theistic, not dogmatic, but if thought of as nothing more than a Karma machine, it's as pointless as Snake Handling.

    Debating is fun, FT. I'm no judge.


    1. It's really fun, Jersey, on those all-too-rare occasions when we can come to some sort of meeting of the minds. I'm here to insist that we don't have to dislike each other and abuse each other just because we disagree on matters of government policy.



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