Editorial: Lemonade from lemons

Ronnie Convery learns there is a positive side to life’s misfortunes.

Sometimes, I confess, I feel desperate about the political choices being made all around me. Perhaps for the first time in my adult life, I feel threatened by certain decisions. Maybe the most terrifying feeling of all is powerlessness.

Since it’s confession time, I must acknowledge too that I sometimes sink into near despair as I watch the relatively recent tendency in western society for people to divide unthinkingly into rival camps about everything from immigration policy to toilet designation. It’s utterly infuriating. Culture wars stink!

When the going gets tough one of the great balms or tonics is the less-commonly prescribed drug of solidarity. Solidarity in suffering may not take away the pain but it softens its sharpness, offers hope of betterment and allows the sharing of the burden of hurt and fear which suffering begets.

I found all of these elements in the article by Filipino writer Mary Aileen D Bacalso when I read it earlier this week. Her piece, The Philippines: life beyond elections is undoubtedly a cry of pain somehow imbued with hope after the triumph at the recent polls of candidates whom she believes hail from a background  steeped in corruption and violence.

For those of us tempted to despair at inhumane policies carried out by our own authorities (in my own country I watch aghast the UK government’s extraordinary plan to deport people fleeing danger and poverty to Rwanda), the article is a must. The writer has clearly come through a tunnel of despair and pain and somehow manages to offer grounds for hope. That’s something we all need these days.

Last month I had the good fortune to chat to a young American teacher and writer with a talent for putting things in context in a charming writing style. The occasion was a coaching session for the winner of Adamah’s recent young writers competition. It was good to offer a few helpful hints to a young writer of talent, but as often happens in such circumstances, the teacher benefits as much as the student! 

You might too, by reading the amusing but pungent article by this self-same writer, the young American teacher Katelyn Hannel on how a bit of chaos in our daily lives can do us the world of good! This is an absolute must for teachers as it describes how, amidst the mayhem, this profession generates so many beautiful moments and does such good.

Words, I suppose, are my business. I can’t build you a house, sculpt you a statue, unblock your toilet or even wash your car properly … but I seem to have made a living for three decades by stringing one word after another. That’s why I was fascinated by the clinically incisive article by John Kline which explains how scare words like ‘racist’ and ‘hate’ are designed to rattle us.

It’s a fascinating dissection of sentences, sounds, word choice and rules of rhetoric which will leave you amazed at how often you have fallen victim to a manipulator of meaning. Words matter. And, in the hands of a political strategist, they can be nasty weapons. Learn how to defuse the verbal bombs in this article.

Finally this week let me send you to Singapore for some brilliant insights from Adamah columnist Nicole Law on dealing with sufferings big and small.

Her message is rooted in everyday life but infused with the wisdom of the ages … give her short lifestyle column a read today and you might just find yourself inspired to turn a few sour lemons into sweet lemonade.

Like what you’ve read? Consider supporting the work of Adamah by making a donation and help us keep exploring life’s big (and not so big) issues!

Ronnie Convery is a journalist and broadcaster who has written for a variety of publications in the UK and Italy. Currently he divides his time between directing communications at the Archdiocese of Glasgow and serving as Italian Honorary Consul in the city. He has a long background in print and TV, a strong presence on social media and recently penned a book entitled Reclaiming the Piazza (about creating space for dialogue to overcome division). Ronnie is Associate Editor of Adamah.

One Comment


    Thank you, Ronnie for mentioning my article in your editorial and for your much-needed solidarity.

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