Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why I Learned to Make My Bed


Practical Christian Mysticism

Getting heavy while keeping it light



Leaving the bed unmade is a common habit among those who have not retired or “settled” into life. For the rest of us who are growing our careers, making our way in the world, or just making ends meet; making the bed just seems like a easy thing to skip. After all, who cares? The only person it affects is us, and we have better things to get on to, right? As I have been working to keep my head on straight through the chaos of life, I have learned making the bed is a simple habit which hosts a plethora of healthy thinking and emotional well-being.

Facing Our Limitations

Work-a-holics think they should never be tired. It is tempting to see sleep as a kind of defeat, as if we are failing just because we are weak. This is often exacerbated because the corporate world seems to have no tolerance for weakness. We have to face this culture of shame and imposed obligation to realize we are still human in the end. It does us no good, and a great deal of harm, to pattern our lives around unreasonable expectations. Making our beds are a practice in facing our limitations, we start the day understanding how it must end.

Beginning the Day With Love and Grace for Ourselves

Those who are harsh and graceless toward others, are often hard on themselves first. Making the bed in the morning, when we are fresh and have energy, is how we show grace for ourselves at a time when we are tired and spent. While I still struggle sometimes feeling unproductive or wasteful making the bed in the morning, I have NEVER regretted making the bed when I crawl into it at night, tired and exhausted.

An Unmade Bed is a Sign of a Discontent Heart

But what is the real reason we leave the bed unmade? What’s the reason we have piles of paper and differed decisions laying around our houses? The truth is that we often just don’t like where we are. Our beds, our rooms, our piles of stuff, these things often go untouched because we are too busy thinking about tomorrow and what might be, instead of what is. Making our bed is a sign of thankfulness, it is a sign that whatever the future holds, we are going to make the best of what we have.

The Tidy Bed Challenge
If you are like me, someone who struggles with the little things in life like making the bed, then I challenge you to try a change in habit. I know there are the occasional rushed mornings where it just isn’t possible, but try to fit it into your normal get-up-and-go routine. Observe how you feel about it at night compared to how you feel about as you make it in the morning. Think about why you feel like making your bed is a waste of time. Perhaps you will discover a little thing like making the bed is key to understanding a whole lot more about yourself.