Growing up at home there was a often battle fought between my parents and me over the issue of making my bed in the morning. An after-breakfast check-in was a common routine in our house. My mom or dad would walk down the hall, check each room, call down and say. “Stop whatever it is you are doing and come and make your bed.” It was a chore that I simply did not like to do, and so I avoided it. How absurd it was to make my bed every morning. It was counterproductive. What could be the benefit of straightening a bed in the morning that would inevitably be undone that evening? This puzzled me for a long time, until I began to see the ordering of the sheets and blankets becoming something fundamentally more meaningful. The physical motions of making my bed became a tangible display to me of my Christian faith.
We use symbols every day, from the shaking of hands to warning labels. Symbols allow us to sum up entire thoughts in a single visual object. A waving or clapping of the hand is meaningful because of the link it has with a person’s affections. Take them away and a applause becomes a meaningless noise. Symbolism is often seen in worship as well in the bowing of your head in prayer and in the unique architecture of a Church. One of my teachers in high school once explained to me why he often lit candles at home when he prayed or studied the Bible. He described the candle as being a physical representation of the presence of God in his life. The burning flame was a tangible reminder of his beliefs. Consequently the candle itself became something much more than a candle, rather a powerful symbol of his belief. In the making of my bed I see before me a small picture of the Christian story. While the disheveled bed mirrors the fall of man from a perfect world, the straightening of the sheets is a physical display of the redemption accomplished by Christ. The simple action of making my bed becomes a tangible representation of the restoring of order and peace that Christ has completed on the cross and continues to work in my life.
I believe in the power of symbolism. It has led me to look deeper into the everyday things around me. The mundane habit of making my bed has become for me more than just a morning chore. I see in the untangling and smoothing of the sheets a tangible representation of my Christian faith. Before I go to class in the morning, I now inevitably think about my beliefs that are uniquely linked with the making of my bed. This symbolism does not just give me a strong reason to make my bed in the early hours of the morning. It encourages and prepares as I face the coming day.
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