Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Refrigerator wisdom

Our kitchen is, in general, a joyful profusion of color, with nods to Beloved's penguin collection and our shared propensity to pile up clutter. I'm talking CLUTTER, until we're moving a week's worth of mail around on the counter like Scrabble tiles, in order to chop vegetables for dinner. But I digress. :-)

Near the entrance to the kitchen is our riotous refrigerator, covered in my magnet collection: besides numbers for pizza and the nurse line, features include Snoopy and Charlie Brown and a Norwegian flag, souvenirs of trips to Chicago and the North Shore, and the assorted wisdom of many, many sages ranging from Dilbert and Opus to Gertrude Stein to Walt Whitman to Eleanor Roosevelt. Some favorites:
  • Do one thing every day that scares you. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • No use being pessimistic; it wouldn't work anyway. (Phillip Mueller)
  • There ain't no answer. There ain't never gonna BE an answer. THAT's the answer. (Gertrude Stein)
  • Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
I'm generally suspicious of any theology or philosophy that can be summed up in an aphorism, but I can't seem to resist these various bits of humor and wisdom, either. And, word junkie that I am, I'm instantly seduced by poets and writers with a gift for metaphor or an elegant turn of phrase.

I've been a lover of Rilke, in particular, because he gave me the courage to live into a truly scary time in my life. I quote him regularly, and try diligently to live out my own questions. Incidentally, I think that Letters to a Young Poet should be required reading for every human on the planet, along with Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I love to believe that we'd be elevated by reading them--that we'd be a little braver and a little kinder to one another in this broken, blessed world.

Anyway, last night, I found the perfect magnet. It trumpets the pinnacle of refrigerator wisdom:
  • When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.


Shazza said...

I need to find that pessimism magnet for my partner!!!

Choralgirl said...

Shazza, why not make one? Create your own design, glue it to some cardboard & attach a little magnet to the back. My partner did that once for me with a picture that makes me laugh. That's ALSO on the fridge. :-)