Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Less than an hour after writing about my sons' refusal to make their beds, I was caught by surprise. I went downstairs, where my son had slept last night, to throw in a load of laundry. I also went downstairs to pick up his mess, which I knew awaited me. I had the day before spent about an hour straightening up in his quarters. Washing his clothes, folding them neatly. I made his bed, taking off all the linens and replacing them, pulling the corners tight. Hospital corners, of course. Fluffed the pillows. You know the drill.
He came home last night and went downstairs to watch television. I went downstairs to do something and he never said a word. Never said thanks for cleaning my room, it looks nice. Thanks for organizing my clothes. Nothing. I wasn't hurt, I am not that easily bothered. But I noticed.
Today I went downstairs and put in my laundry and then around the corner to make his bed. For my own sake, I wanted that bed made! But it was already done. He had gotten up and left for the day and made his bed without a word to draw attention to it. I appreciated his effort even as I stepped toward it to fix it. You see, he had clearly just kind of pulled up the blankets and put the pillows atop the comforter. He obviously had not pulled the bed away from the wall, pulled off all the linens and tucked them back in hospital style. Those pillows were not fluffed. The foot of the comforter was not tucked down behind the foot board. I'll just fix it up a bit and bless his heart, he tried. I figured it was his way of telling me he had noticed my efforts the night before.
It was then I came up short just as my hand skimmed the top of the slightly rumpled comforter. In fact, my hand did just barely touch the surface. Something in me told me to stop. Told me to let it be, to accept the gesture. To receive the love that bed was meant to convey. Something told me it was terribly important that he not come home to find I had remade his bed. Certainly that I not thank him in one breath and then smilingly criticize his efforts in the next by telling him I had fixed it.
More times than I can count I have felt that whatever it was I put myself to, it was not good enough. Whether a meal that fell a little short or formal ministry; it could always be better. Today, with my hand lightly resting on my son's bed; I was relieved of those fears all at once.
It does not take God a step in my direction, a moment to think or a pause as he starts to fix my efforts. He sees me making the effort and calls it worship. He allows the love to flow from my attempts at perfection and makes it perfect by receiving it.
This morning I did not remake my son's bed. In fact, I went downstairs again and stood looking at it with a smile. It was just for me, these blankets pulled up haphazardly and pillows piled against the headboard without being fluffed. It was because he chose to love me in those moments in a way that I could see. And I almost belittled his gift. God never reduces our efforts to less than perfect. He always receives us and the thing we can offer today, is always enough.
This morning, my son remade my heart.