Teacher: “If I were to squeeze this lemon as hard as I could, what would come out?”

Student: “Juice, of course.”

Teacher: “Do you think orange juice could come out of it?”

Student: “Of course not. It’s a lemon!”

Teacher: “How about apple juice? Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”

Student: “Of course not. It’s a lemon!”

Teacher: “How about grapefruit juice? Do you think grapefruit juice could come out of it?”

Student: “Of course not. It’s a lemon!”

Teacher: “Tell me then, what would come out of it?”

Student: “Lemon juice, of course.”

Teacher: “Why? Why is it that when you squeeze a lemon, lemon juice comes out?”

Student: “Well, it’s a lemon and that’s what’s inside.”

Credit: Retold by Philip Chircop SJ
Inspired by a story told by Wayne Dyer


Imagine that the lemon is you. Imagine someone squeezing you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you?

If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezing—your mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.


Author: philipchircop

I'm a Jesuit from Malta, an artist at heart and madly in love with all things beautiful and soulful: music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, theatre, poetry, good company, good food, good wine and more. I believe that beauty is a wonderful entry into the mystery of the God “whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” God can be sensed in all things if and when we engage in a long, loving look at the real that surrounds us. I consider myself a seeker with bottomless curiosity, an eternal student of life, exploring fresh and creative ways to proclaim the Good News in the hope of helping fellow pilgrims and seekers to embrace real and radical changes that will lead to conversion and transformation.


  1. “If an egg is broken by outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from inside.”


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