When Life Gives You Lemons

April 30, 2016

They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well for the past six months, life has been throwing lemons at me constantly! At first I had no clue what to do with this bitter skinned sour fruit, but over time and several attempts, I think I’ve finally come up with a recipe that makes me appreciate lemons more than ever!

Ingredients:

Lemons (of course, as many as life has thrown at you)

Intentions (pure and free of contamination) – Niyat

Effort (the best possible you can find) -Koshish

Patience (be generous with this, you’ll need plenty) – Sabr

Gratitude (the sugar that will transform the sour taste into the most delicious drink you’ve ever had) – Shukar

Method:

Lemons also known as hardships (if you haven’t figured that out yet), everyone has a plentiful stock of that in their kitchen and they never run out. Hardship is simply unavoidable, so we better stop fighting against it and learn to live with it. It is a false assumption that we can somehow get rid of it through wealth, relationships, or whatever you think. It is a characteristic of this life, for everyone! A poor man, no matter how much he’d love to switch places with the man living in a mansion from where he collects the trash, will not want to live with that rich man’s problems for even a day, and will run back to his small home where he knows he will find love and warmth like no place else. Our lack of knowledge makes us feel that this life is unfair but Allah in His infinite mercy and grace would never be unjust with anyone. The balance is perfect and nothing less!

Lemons, despite their unbearable taste, are packed with essential vitamins that make us strong and improve our immune system. So do hardships! They make us feel horrible but they provide us with a will to survive, a direction, and at the end of it all purify us from contaminants that are very harmful to our existence. They are a blessing in disguise, if only we make them lemonade.

 

So you’ve been thinking you want to do this with your life, and that. But suddenly you are being bombarded with lemons, they come in all shapes and sizes and they hurt! It’s good to set goals and have targets you want to achieve, but frankly, that’s all you’ve got, the ability to make that intention for something and the capacity to make the effort for it. After that you are in control of nothing. And yes, I’m pretty sure most of you are thinking I’m making this sound too sweet, but if we were also left to decide what’s good for us and whats not, life would have become much more difficult than it already is. That’s the point where we leave it to Allah to decide, and we all believe that He loves us in an amount that our mind can’t even wrap around, so there is no point worrying about it. But this is the part where most of us ruin the lemonade. With Mr. Shaitan (Satan) around us all the time, our chief adviser, like the sly ministers who mislead the leaders, has his own motives and agenda and uses us conveniently to get his work done. What does he do? He makes us feel like it is us who is in control of our fate, it is us who can produce results, it is us who can change the world. As morbid as it might sound, we don’t have that ability or the choice to do so. As I said earlier, we don’t know whether the result we’re after is even good for us, even though it may seem like the perfect thing that can happen to us, WE DO NOT KNOW!

Make that intention. Be sure it is pure and correct. Be sure it does not involve causing pain to oneself or others. Now move on to the next step of the recipe.

 
It’s now time to add the next ingredient, EFFORT. We have been blessed with five senses and a brain, we need to use these assets wisely. We all know what we’re capable of, but either choose to ignore it, or undermine our abilities on purpose, always trying to find an easy way out. Give it your best shot, whatever you have in you, use it to its maximum potential. But be careful, because Mr. Shaitan will be lurking around, and he’ll start preparing you for one of two things: disappointment or pride! If the results are as you were expecting, then, instantaneously you’ll start to feel as if it was your effort and only that, that produced those results. Whereas, that is not the case at all. It is, and always will be the Mercy of Allah that we achieve anything in life. What we are bestowed with is many times greater than our efforts, and it is only His blessings and nothing else, after all, He is the one who gave us the capacity to make those efforts in the first place. On the other hand, if you do not achieve what you set out to achieve, Mr. S will suddenly make you feel that you are a victim of some sort, that you’ve been treated unfairly, and that you deserved much better. He will make you feel that you are not worthy or anything, and will take you to a point where you might even want to give the most precious gift you have away, your life. So beware at all times, and keep reminding yourself of the mercies and blessings of Allah, and that is the only way we get places, and if you didn’t get something that too was a blessing. It might not seem so, but as I mentioned earlier, is because of our lack of knowledge.

Now its time for the key ingredient. Patience! This is one that is most difficult to find but is what makes or breaks the recipe. There is no restriction to the amount you put in, the more the better. In the midst of doubt and hopelessness, you will have to find peace, because that is your only hope and saving grace. One day when I was out walking, a thought came to my mind, that as long as I don’t give up, I will be forgiven for all my shortcomings and mistakes, but the minute I give up, forgiveness can not be achieved. At that point, that is all I needed, to keep going, but later I realised what it really meant. Giving up means losing faith, and I think that is enough said! So fight hard, and know that if you fall it is not the end, stand up and fight again. It’s not the number of times you fall that matters, all that matters is you getting up every time! This is hard, very hard, and you’ll want to give up, thanks to Mr. S again for supporting our every negative thought. But you have it in you to get through. You know why? Because He’s up there and He is helping in ways we can not even imagine, and it is because He trusts our abilities that we’re still alive. We all know that phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, so whatever it is that you’re in, you’ll emerge from it stronger and prepared to fight more battles!

With that said, we are now left with decorating our already very refreshing drink, so that we get the complete experience of the best lemonade you’ve ever had. This is that secret ingredient that will make this lemonade taste like none other. Gratitude! It’s not just a state of mind, we actually have a lot to be grateful for, despite the hardships we’re in. But in order to add this ingredient, you need to stop doing whatever else it is that you are doing, just for a moment, and breathe. See there it is! The first thing to be grateful for, the ability to breathe, that ability only the living have. You are alive! But most of us, in that state of anxiety and depression, even forget that! Isn’t that just sad, to be alive yet unaware of how much that means! Look around you and you’ll realise that there are not just one or two but millions of things that we have forgotten we have because we are too caught up in these hardships, which makes them even harder. But most importantly, we need to be grateful for the very hardship that has put us in the state we’re in. I know for a fact, that in times like these, it’s so much easier to remember Allah, it so much easier to communicate with Him, it means so much more, because despite our condition, we turn to Him to find comfort, and in that is our success!

 

 

Tips to improve the experience:

  1. Continuously purify yourself, through prayer and remembrance of Allah
  2. Talk to someone, it helps so much, because the problem that we have so conveniently magnified in our mind isn’t as big once its out in front of us in the form of words (it’s help me a lot)
  3. Help someone with their problems. This, not only makes you forget your own worries but also gives you a sense of purpose
  4. Spend some time laughing and enjoying this beautiful thing called life

 

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