Last week, I bought this meringue cookie thing for dessert, and as I patted my tummy and nibbled, I got to wondering about the word meringue, the sweet qualities of the product itself, and whether I could justify trying to make this word relevant to the experiences and lessons of day-to-day life. Yes. I can. Meringue, I am thinking, is like life. Creating a good life or good meringue requires attention and care. Both are also abundantly sweet.
This is precisely the kind of musing that gets me into trouble and sends me trotting off through a forest of memories to explore a question. This is not always an easy trip, but it is always one hundred percent fascinating and revealing.
I don’t remember how old I was when my mother taught me how to make lemon meringue pie. What I remember is the magic of transformation as this shapeless liquid became a solid, sweet dessert. Learning to beat egg whites with a hand held beater seemed like hard work. As the egg whites got firmer, turning the handle got harder and keeping the bowl in place took more muscle. But the resulting sweetness was worth every bit of effort. Like relationships.
I can never eat just one meringue cookie, so I continued my rumination.
I like the chameleon-like quality of meringue. I acknowledge it in whatever form it happens to be — cookies, cakes, pie. Hmm. Can I learn to meet people where they are, not where I want them to be? Flexibility adds sweetness to relationships, and I like a lot of sweetness around me. Acceptance. Meringue is light, a reminder that nothing in life is as heavy as I can make it seem. Lightness of attitude is the way to go.
Sometimes unsweetened, beaten egg whites are folded into recipes that, while fluffy and tasty, offer me a more indrawn appreciation of life. Savory pulls me into more serious contemplations like: how do I learn to forgive a person? Will I ever let go of judgment? How long before I understand the nature of work? These are all good, but not the contemplations that accompany my lemon meringue pie.
“The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment” said the fortune on the tea bag. Okay. Just one more meringue cookie.