Most of us have favorite quotes, and many of us post them on our fridges, a bathroom mirror, a bulletin board, or in another place in our homes where we will frequently see them and be reminded of great lessons. Some of us even have them over doorways or on walls, using the vinyl lettering that’s so popular right now.
My fridge is relatively clean-lined, except for a few cherished postcards, photos, and Relief Society handouts I can’t resist keeping at eye level. And a few hilarious greeting cards. And some tender thank-you notes. And a couple of wedding invitations. Okay, from time to time I need to weed out, which really means just transplanting these gems to the side of the fridge less visible to visitors.
But I try to keep at least one great quote in view, one cherished insight that centers our family’s priorities when someone is heading for a slice of creamy peanut butter pie. The fridge may seem an unlikely source of wisdom, but it’s certainly an altar at which we all pay regular respect, so here is where many of us place food for thought.
And today I decided to share a few of my favorites with you, hoping you’ll do the same, and leave your favorite quote in the “comments” box below this article.
One of my all-time favorites is by Gandhi. It’s a quote that actually changed my life and made me determined to serve at least one person in one, small way, every day. He said, “Whenever you are in doubt… recall the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore to him a control over his own life and destiny?”
This quote was such a great wake-up call to me, a reminder that we can all give something, that we can all find someone in worse condition, and we can all reach out and matter to that one poor soul. I loved the quote so much that I shared it with my husband one night after we were in bed. As usual, he was nodding off just as I was winding up and wanting to talk and make plans about whom we could help. “So think of the most wretched man you know,” I went on. “Who comes to mind?”
With his typical dry humor, Bob said, “You’re holding hands with him.” Well, of course you can’t get to sleep when you’re laughing until tears stream down your cheeks, but at least I tried to be quiet so he could sleep. It was the least I could do.
When our kids were younger, a quote by M. Russell Ballard reminded me of the importance of parenting: “To see our children grow, succeed, and take their place in society and in the Lord’s kingdom is an eternal reward worth any amount of sacrifice or inconvenience.”
I also love this quote by C. S. Lewis that reminds us of the importance of motherhood. He said, “The homemaker is the ultimate career for which all other careers exist. Why should we have shipping lines, the fields of medicine or the law, of commerce or labor of any kind except to support the home and family?”
Several of the quotes which have found their way to Fridge-worthiness address the topic of being in tune with the Holy Ghost. I like this one from Bruce R. McConkie: “There is nothing as important as having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. There is no price too high, no labor too onerous, no struggle too severe, no sacrifice too great, if out of it all we receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
And this one from Julie Beck: “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act upon personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”
I could paper an entire room with quotes by Neal A. Maxwell. Did he ever utter a sentence that was not fit for framing? He was so incredibly eloquent that he could never be paraphrased without it weakening his message. There was simply no way to improve upon his choice of words, and here’s a wonderful example, a quote that reminds us not to try to escape our trials, but to learn from them: “If, indeed, the things allotted to each were divinely customized according to our ability and capacity, then for us to seek to wrench ourselves free of every schooling circumstance in mortality is to tear ourselves away from matched opportunities.”
Mother Teresa and President Thomas S. Monson are two superb sources of great quotes about love and the importance of serving the individual. Their lives have been glowing examples of their words, and tremendous motivation for each of us to become more charitable. Mother Teresa often reminded us of the poverty of loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted. She urged people to be more caring, if only to smile more. She said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”And President Monson has left a trail of hundreds of improved lives, touched with his gentleness and sincerity, improved forever because he knew the value of helping others one-on-one. He said, “Needed are...[souls] filled with compassion, that we might communicate not only eye to eye, or voice to ear, but in the majestic style of the Savior, even heart to heart."
And today the quote at center stage came from last week’s Relief Society lesson, from the manual we’re all using about the life of President George Albert Smith. The teacher handed out a card that applies as much today as it did during his service more than 60 years ago. He said, “It is a wonderful blessing that we enjoy in these times of stress and uncertainty to feel sure of divine guidance, to have absolute faith in a personal God who is interested in us and who hears and answers our prayers.”
Yes, I still post the occasional light-hearted quote, such as “Fat People Are Harder to Kidnap,” and “I’m the Queen Because My Pantyhose Say So,” but I keep coming back to the quotes on the side of the fridge, which work their way back into plain view and keep us striving for what matters most. Their timeless wisdom pulls me along when I’m discouraged, and energizes me to action when I need to get busy serving. It simply wouldn’t be my kitchen without them.
Joni Hilton’s latest book, “FUNERAL POTATOES—THE NOVEL” (Covenant Communications) is in LDS bookstores everywhere.
She has written 17 books, three award-winning plays, and is a frequent public speaker and a former TV talk show host.