Lemons are my personal symbol of resilience.
My first real house in California had an enormous lemon tree in the backyard. I made lemon bars, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemonade. I added lemon to pasta sauce, soup, chilled water. We shared fruit with the neighbors, giving away grocery bags full of lemons. And we never ran out. We couldn’t out-give that tree.
The previous owners told us they bought that tree for 49 cents from an offer on the back of a cereal box. They put the little slip of a tree in a pot on the front yard. It grew slowly–very slowly. It never produced a lemon.
They finally planted the tree in the backyard. The next year, they put in a swimming pool. The backhoe kept running into the little tree. By the time the pool was complete, the lemon tree was a mess. They cut off all the broken limbs and left it to die.
Instead, the tree took off growing and producing large, juicy lemons. We reaped the tasty results.
A few years later, we moved to Mountain View. I was delighted to see a lemon tree in the back yard. This was a modest lemon tree. No grocery bags of lemons to give away. But it produced enough for the lemonade, pasta sauce, and lemon bars I didn’t want to live without.
Then came the deep freeze, the winter before the Oakland Hills fire. Our lemon tree looked like a goner. The leaves and bark turned black. A tree expert came out and trimmed it way back.
When spring arrived, that tree took off, growing ten feet in the next six months. The lemons it produced were gargantuan. Once again, I can give away lemons.
Wednesday evening I hosted a reunion for Uncover Your Calling graduates at Deborah’s Palm. And I brought a great basket of shiny lemons to share.
I listened to one woman after another tell about the adversity in their lives–the loss of jobs, health, homes, and husbands. But these women were not defeated by loss. To a person, they brimmed with hope as they described their experience in the Uncover Your Calling group, and after.
“I didn’t know who I was–I was so lost,” said one. “I got to discover myself, who I was without a job and without a husband.”
Another said, “Because I knew what I wanted, and the value I could deliver, I negotiated a completely different position than the one they posted–a position that worked for me.”
“I finally got in touch with my values,” said a third, “and I crafted a life that honors those values.”
“Some of my closest friends came out of my Uncover Your Calling group,” two more agreed.
Maybe life handed these women lemons, but they are responding like my lemon trees– flourishing, productive, with much to offer.
I handed each another lemon–juicy and delicious. I can’t predict how those lemons will be used– but I predict good things ahead for these women.
Copyright © 2012 Marcia Davis-Cannon