My friend Mary Helen Ferris created this photo message for a mutual friend of ours who is going through some difficulties right now. I have no doubt that our friend will manage to do just that.
Mary Helen’s advice is much like the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” You start out with something sour, add water, a neutralizing agent, then you add sugar to make the mixture palatable. That is exactly what we must do when we are in a negative situation.
In life, the neutralizing agent is control of our emotions and this can be accomplished when Soul is in control, not the ego or the emotions. When Soul is in control, we are able to take a higher perspective, to see things from a higher viewpoint. We can see the possible reasons behind another person’s behavior, or we can see our own fears at work in our own subconscious mind, fears that control our knee-jerk reactions to people and events. When we pause and step back, we have a chance to take control of our reactions to a given situation, and we can decide on a reasonable and fitting response, rather than a negative emotional reaction.
The sweetening agent is the positive elements that we bring to bear on a situation, when we realize that we have a chance to learn a new skill or manifest a positive quality in our personality. It is a change of attitude from anger, worry, bitterness and regret to acceptance that we created the situation, gratitude for the opportunity to learn, and willingness to put the lessons to good use in the future.
Some of the scraps that we are handed may be in pretty bad shape. We might have to wash and iron them. We might have to cut the edges so that they are straight. We might have to pick and choose among the scraps to find the ones that will make the best quilt. We will spend some time organizing the scraps into a pattern. We will sew the scraps together carefully, one by one, and add a backing to them.
How does this work in life? Our experiences come at us helter-skelter, without any rhyme or reason, it seems. Our more unpleasant experiences are like dirty, shapeless scraps that we have to wash, iron and cut into shape. We do this as we process each experience to get the lesson that it offers us. Every so often, we look in our basket of scraps to see which pieces will make a good quilt pattern. We take stock of our experiences and we connect them together in a pattern, from which it is possible to see why we had to have those particular experiences, and how one experience has led us to the next. If we sew the scraps of our experiences together carefully, a pattern emerges, and we begin to see the beauty of it. The chaos of our lives that is represented by the basket of scraps from which we form our quilt is turned into something beautiful, and useful, something that has meaning and purpose. Finally we add it to a strong backing. That is our faith in God. The backing helps to keep all the pieces together and gives the resulting quilt strength and makes it useful. 🙂