WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS by Rector Chris Girata
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, May 7, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
In India, elephants are both beautiful and an annoyance. As cities and villages have expanded, elephants have less land and fewer options for eating the large amount of food they need each day. In rural areas, elephants have taken to raiding farmers’ fields and eating their crops in order to survive. Before the pandemic lockdown, it was normal for farmers to keep vigil at night in order to protect their crops from the hungry elephants. But when the pandemic hit and people couldn’t go into the city to work, they had a chance to imagine a new solution to this big problem.
But the pandemic offered us all an opportunity to reimagine who we are and the way we live.
Rather than fighting the elephants off their farmland, one local group had the idea to use the land between the farms and the forest, where the elephants lived, to grow grass specifically for them. Before the lockdown, spending time planting grass for elephants was too daunting a task. However, “city workers, who returned home because of lockdown, [could now] provide the extra hands needed for such a project.” Without the regular city work they needed to do to support their families, 500 people from a small village seized the downtime to plant grass on nearly 400 acres of unused land between the forest and their fields. They hoped this simple solution would solve their big problem, and it worked! Now other rural villages are following their lead.
This story is one of dozens featured in the documentary film and reminded me that the pandemic is a horrible problem that offered us all a unique opportunity to reimagine how we live. We have all had a chance to reflect on our priorities, our habits, and the way we relate to the world around us. And just as those villagers in India seized the chance to solve a big problem and change their world for the better, we have the same chance to work together in new ways.
I bet that each of you can find a hopeful shift in your own life that has made life a bit richer.
We are all rushing toward the exit of this pandemic tunnel (and for good reason!). However, before we blow out of this experience as quickly as possible, I hope we take some time to reflect on the good things we’ll take with us. For me, some of the good that has come out of the pandemic is a shift in the way my family relates to one another without the use of technology. It’s somewhat ironic, given how much learning went online when the pandemic began, but I found that time outside of school with my kids was remarkably analog and wonderful. I bet that each of you can find a hopeful shift in your own life that has made life a bit richer.
Change is constant, and this past year has proven that change can be significant and hard. Yet change can also be life giving. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The pandemic has thrown lemons at us like dodgeballs, but we still have the chance to make some great lemonade. Let’s make sure we do before it’s too late.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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