I pull the flannel sheets from the dryer. They belong on the beds of Nettie and Cecilia. I bought them from Kohl’s some time ago on a magnificent sale. They are so soft and warm and fluffy. When I clean the lint from the lint trap it is soft and airy. I would like to put these soft, warm sheets back on their beds. They feel so comforting!
But when I strip the beds in the morning, Nettie cannot bear to wait until the sheets are washed and dried to have the beds made up again. I’ve learned that to her, an unmade bed speaks of my neglect and uncaring towards her and it feels like nothing is right or predictable in her world. If I even procrastinate at making up the beds once they are stripped, it worries her exceedingly. So I learned early on to strip the beds and try hard to have them made before the timer goes off marking the 30 minute wait she has on Saturday mornings following her weekly “bone pill.” The timer tells her that she can safely eat her breakfast. It tells me that I should be done stripping and remaking the two twin beds in the bedroom that she and BL share.
A few weeks ago, when the weather turned cooler, I brought out the two sets of flannel sheets that I use alternately on the the ladies’ beds during the winter. One is the wonderfully soft and warm set that I spoke of earlier. It is light blue with white puffs on it that look like clouds, and looks warm and inviting. The other set is flannel. It is steel gray-blue. It is serviceable and warm, but it is not very soft. Even dried in the dryer with softener doesn’t seem to change the fact that it isn’t all that soft. But it keeps Nettie and Cecilia warm. And Cecilia never acts like there is anything wrong with it. Nettie thanks me for making her bed sometimes and for putting an extra blanket on it, but she never seems to notice the difference in the sheets. When I take one set off, I put the other set on without mention or fanfare.
Why does this make me think about Grace? I was pulling that soft, airy lint from the lint trap today and thinking about the Grace that is so welcome in my life. The Grace that is so warm and comforting and attractive. And I wonder how often I miss that kind of Grace because I am so insistent on things being done in my time and in my way.
But there is that other kind of Grace. It is not soft. But it keeps me warm and it is certainly serviceable in my life. And just maybe it will prove to be more durable over the long haul. And if it accomplishes what it was intended to accomplish, maybe it doesn’t matter so much how pleased I am with what it feels like. Because when all is said and done, aesthetic values aside, I need grace for the long haul, not the short pleasure.