Sour grapes, onions and silver linings

Dear younger me,

Life will hand you 3 things consistently: Sour grapes, onions, and silver linings. In fact, if you are fortunate to live long you will accumulate a stock-pile of these things. All three will be evident in the best and the worst of what life brings. While you often won’t get to choose what you go through, you will always get to choose how you go through it. Sour grapes, onions, and silver linings will come consistently, and sometimes overlap and collide as if in perfect unison. Like medicine to your soul and “as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19). I often say, “Let my heart overflow with compassion, please dear God.”

Dear younger me, I hope you embrace every sour grape, onion, and silver lining, for each one will help you grow into an older truer you. Let me shine a little more light on each of these things to help you understand their importance.

Sour grapes can be hard to swallow.  They come in all shapes and sizes. They are evidenced in the old man who is consumed with resentment. Life in his eighty’s didn’t turn out the way he had pictured it. He takes little responsibility, so if you choose to care for him, expect a nibble (here and there) of his sour grapes. Dear younger me, remember to deliver love anyway, it will help squelch the taste of sour grapes. You are doing it for HIM, not for him. After all, sour grapes will also evidence whenever you mess up (which you will). Pray God promptly turns the mirror around; it will get you that much closer to an older truer you. Sour grapes will inevitably be tasted but you don’t have to spend your time chewing on them. Let go of the sour and bitter, keep hold of what is right and sweet. Such things are like medicine for your soul.

Onions have been cultivated and used around the world for more than 7,000 years. They are pungent when chopped or pealed. They contain certain chemical substances which irritate the eyes, often causing you to cry. As with sour grapes, onions are evidenced in our circumstances. Dear younger me, in choosing how to get through life’s lessons you must first be willing to peel back the layers. Take your time and be prepared for frequent often uncontrollable tears. Seeing what is beneath is not always pretty. In fact, it may bring you face to face with unfathomable loss. Peeling the layers is necessary to get to the core. Think of it as prep work for your heart and mind. Coping with mom’s Alzheimer’s, a friend’s cancer diagnosis, and disappointment in marriage — each leads us to chop the situation into manageable bits, peel back the layers, and cry some bittersweet tears. Silver lining are often more visible once we accept that bumps will come and go. No doubt, we will stumble and fall, and then must move on better equipped than before. It is all part of cultivating, growing, and getting closer to an older truer you.

Silver linings appear in the best and the worst of circumstances, just like those sour grapes and onions. Dear younger me, silver linings come to those who wait, and they also come to those who create. Even in the midst of the darkest times, silver linings make their way through and shine as a beacon of hope. Those birds that sang through the night in watching mom depart for heaven’s gates — they were evidence of a silver lining. Those friends who shared uplifting songs when you thought you couldn’t make another step – they were evidence of a silver lining. The unmistakable whispers in your heart that gave you courage to make a life-changing decision — they were evidence of a silver lining. Dear younger me, while scripture promises you are never alone, please reach out to others; don’t go it alone spiritually, mentally, or physically.  As you move forward in this life, I hope you embrace each sour grape, onion, and silver lining, for each one will help you grow into an older truer you.

As time slips by, I am more keenly aware of my own sour grapes, onions and silver linings. I have no idea what the future holds for me or my loved ones, but I pray I am coming closer to being my older truer self. In the process, I want to savor ALL life has to offer. Whether it repulses our taste buds, irritates our eyes, or leaves us in breathless awe, each is meant as a gift to make us better people and help another in this life.

Dear Younger Me (courtesy of Mercy Me) …

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