Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Making the World a Better Place -- One Fridge at a Time

Some days I wonder if my life will have meaning after I'm gone. Will it have added up to something commendable, worthwhile, interesting at least?

And then on other days I clean my fridge and know that my efforts are not all for naught. The little things really do matter.

How, you ask, can cleaning the fridge give life greater meaning? Easy. I let it remind me that I have a life.

For starters, my fridge hasn’t been cleaned since we moved into our home in February of 2004. Sure, I did clean up the strawberry topping that leaked from the cake for Lou Bellle’s after-baptism lunch. And I have wiped up seepage from defrosting chicken, spilt milk, and stray catsup. I can’t say, however, that my fridge was clean, exactly.

As I emptied its contents onto the kitchen counter, I recalled the other tasks that had kept me occupied – that had kept me from cleaning the fridge sooner. Here is a partial list: planning a yard, consulting on sprinkler placement, being my girls’s soccer coach, preparing Sunday school lessons, doing laundry, playing basketball, shopping, cooking, working as a second grade reading aide, walking with friends, walking without friends, hiking in the mountains, vacationing at Disneyland, keeping a journal, visiting grandmas, riding my bike, even filling water balloons.

I’d say that my priorities are just about right. Cleaning the fridge isn’t more important than living.

Even the contents of my fridge tell a tale. For one thing, there’s not a lot in there. As my brother, Drew, once said, "Wow, your fridge is . . . er . . . bright!" The reason – we have a 12-year-old boy. He’s a bottomless pit! Keeping him fed has become more challenging of late. Here it is barely past the middle of the month, and I’ve already way overspent our food budget! I think we’ll be testing the contents of our year’s supply this month. Sigh.

And finally, isn’t the outside of a fridge more important than the inside anyway? School lunch menus, shopping lists, children’s artwork, photos of cousins, clipped comics, even a magnet listing the number for poison control. (Do you think my husband was trying to tell me something when he posted the magnet on the fridge?)

All in all, cleaning the fridge helped me see the bigger picture. Certainly is feels good to look inside the gleaming fridge, but contemplating what goes on outside the fridge feels even better. The little things I seem to spend so much time on really do matter. Life, my life, makes a difference.

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