If you were to show up on my doorstep today or tomorrow for a short visit, I would do well to offer you more than a cool glass of refreshing water or a cup of hot tea. Perhaps I could procure some fresh fruit, but cookies and snacks no longer abound in the “slowing metabolism, there are no teens around” Boyd household (Mmmmhhh, hmmmm. Can any of my readers relate?). So, it NEVER fails to amaze me when I show up at my refugee friend’s house and a drink and snack is ALWAYS offered. Not just offered but insisted. I must drink and I must eat.
My face is like a book, so it is easy to note when I particularly enjoy something versus not care for it too much. This is an unfortunate trait and hopefully has become less revealing with maturity. My in-tune friends have figured out that their hand squeezed lemonade is hands down the best and I LOVE it. My mouth will begin to salivate just thinking about it as I walk to their home.
I asked my dear lemonade making friend to teach me how to make her amazing beverage. She eagerly brought the lemons, water, sugar and cutting board and spread them out on the little worn coffee table that separated us. She proceeded to cut the washed lemons into small pieces. Half of them she took off the skin, the other half she threw in the bowl with the skin. While preparing the lemons she told me that in Syria she dreamed of opening a shop that sold lemonade by the Sea. Her friends often told her that her lemonade was the best. I couldn’t agree more.
Water was then added to the lemons and a good helping of sugar. I mean a GOOD helping (probably to 3 lemons there was 1 cup of sugar). Repeatedly, the lemons, sugar and water were squeezed. My friend told me that hand squeezing the lemons with the sugar was key to an amazing flavor. After that the bits were strained, more water was added, and we enjoyed the refreshing taste together.
As I watched her hands work, I thought of all her loss. The loss of her husband, her home by the Sea, her security, her children scattered around the globe and her inability to go and see them, her own health, her previous wealth, even her dreams of a lemonade shop… Yet here she is taking the lemons she has been given and making something so refreshing with it.
The same is true about the cards she sews. She makes each one with all her heart. Each card carries the sourness of needing to provide for herself and her daughters in this way, yet it is filled with the sweetness of the hope it brings and the needs it meets. As those two ingredients are worked together under the pressure of her hands and the demands of rent to be paid, food to be purchased, medicines to be found and other basic survival needs, the most delightful cards are produced. They are anointed with the water of abundant life as I know she prays that her cards will bless those who buy them.
I am “sew” (pun 100% intended) proud of my women and the “lemonade” they are making. May God bless their work and all the lessons they will teach me. They are why I chose to return to Lebanon again, in a time when it is not fun to be here. May our humble offerings (whatever the work of our hands produce) be a sweet taste to the Lord and refreshing to each other.