This I Believe

Mike - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on August 28, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe in making the bed. But I haven’t always believed this. I’m a recent convert. People everywhere seem to be yearning for more ritual and meaning. I’ve discovered a little bit of meaning in a ritual that’s overlooked in humankind’s existential quest.

Some are born bed makers. Others have bed making thrust upon them. I’m in this second group. I’ve been living with a bed maker for about a year now. Here’s what I’ve learned: when a bed maker and her opposite make a home together, one of the pair must give way. Either chaos or order wins the day. There’s no compromise, no middle ground. Because I’m usually the last one to leave the bed, the decision falls to me. Should I spend a few minutes doing something that seems so pointless and futile? Doesn’t the second law of thermodynamics tell us that the clock of the universe is winding down toward entropy? Why fight the inevitable?

For one thing, spending a couple of minutes to maintain domestic peace is a smart investment. My first instinct each morning is to head for the coffeemaker. But I know that if I do, the day will take on its own momentum, and making the bed slips down the list of priorities. Bed making is like a space shuttle launch that way. There’s only a brief window of opportunity. I have to make the bed first thing, or I run the risk of causing a minor disappointment to someone I want to be happy.

But there are selfish reasons too. Even though tidy sheets and covers don’t really matter to me, I get something out of making the bed. No matter what the world does, no matter what uncertainties each day holds, I can always perform this small act of restoring order. I literally smooth out wrinkles before I do anything else. Throughout the upcoming day, I’ll probably eat too much, I won’t exercise, and I won’t make any progress in learning conversational French. But each night, I can point to this tiny landscape of smoothness that I created in my first waking moments. I know I accomplished something, no matter how the rest of the day went.

I realize that in the org chart of beliefs, the belief in bed making is an entry-level position. But it has its virtues. It’s inter-faith and non-denominational. It’s neither red state nor blue state. It can appeal to believers, non-believers, and fence sitters. And it reminds us that small acts can have a significant impact. That’s why I say, “Blessed are the bed makers.”