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Who's On Your Fridge?
by Tom Goodman
September 7, 2011

"Can I take your picture?" Peter Bregman asked.  "I want you on my fridge."

Bregman was talking with Marvin, a man in his 70s, working out with boxing gloves in the gym.  Bregman knew little about him, having just met him.  But the man's energy and sunny outlook were an inspiration.  So he took his picture.

Which sparked a thought:  Why not start a collection?  "A collection of pictures of ordinary people, about whom I know very little, but who inspire me with some quality I want to nurture in myself."  He wrote about it for Fast Company magazine.

What a great idea!  If your fridge displayed little snapshots of ordinary people who inspired you, whose pics would you post?

The practice wouldn't just help us in our personal development.  It would also change what we decide to look for in others.  Bregman writes:

We focus on what people are doing wrong, on their weaknesses and shortcomings.  We gossip and complain.  We get frustrated and passive aggressive.  We find ourselves constantly surprised by the flaws of our colleagues:  How could he/she/they do that?

What if, instead -- or at least in addition -- we chose not to miss an opportunity to be inspired?  If we gossiped about things people did that energized us without fixating on the things that disappointed us?  If we looked for sparks that ignited our enthusiasm and incited our goodwill?  And if we allowed those sparks to light our fires of passion?

Believers, of all people, should be good at finding inspiring qualities in others.  The Bible informs us that every person is made in the image of God.  Yes, we are all fallen image-bearers who reveal our fallenness at every turn.  And yet everyone still has what Pascal called "rumors of glory."  As Aslan told the children in Narnia, "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve.  And that is honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth."

Shame and honor.  Both.  At the same time.

We should never forget the great capacity that fallen people have to disappoint -- and plan accordingly.  And yet we should never forget whose image fallen people still bear -- and catch our breath when we see it.

And, maybe, preserve the moment in a snapshot for our fridge.


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