The title of this little visit is not a typographical error! Do you think I'm referring to Jesus' command to "take up your bed and walk"?
No, I just want to share with those of you who have lost a spouse how the Lord helped me discover that the daily chore of making up my bed was one giant step into this new life I have been left to walk through by myself--after 47 years. That simple task brought a sense of order to my chaotic feelings. Please, pour yourself a cup of tea while I explain.
My husband, Ken, had been ill for five years, so both he and our bed were seldom dressed for the day. On a good day, however, I would spread the covers up in an effort to encourage him to stay up. "The doctor insists that in order to avoid circulation problems we must keep moving. Breakfast is ready. Then let's take a little walk! We need some fresh air!"
But there were the bad days, the days when nothing I attempted could pull him out of bed. I would finally give up and, leaving the room, turn and give one more disheartened glance toward the tumbled bed. "I am convinced that Alzheimer's disease distorts the mind like rumpled and disheveled sheets in a whirlwind!" I sighed deeply.
A grieving friend confessed to me, "How do you do it? I just can't force myself to sleep in our bed!" Of course, I realize we each must walk, just as Jesus did, that shadowy path of sorrow in our own individual way. These are important, honest emotions that must be faced and accepted. But the assurance that our loved one is now safe in our Father's heavenly mansion is a blessing and a comfort beyond description! Be very sure you bestow this gift upon your loved ones left behind!
Because of His grace, when I enter our room since Ken's homegoing, I am reminded:
My Ken grew weary and sick in his present body;
It was swallowed up by everlasting life!
My Ken is no longer confused and depressed;
He's fully dressed
In royal robes of righteousness!
So every morning without fail, I gently and thoughtfully smooth out the soft sheets of the one side where I have slept. Next, the pillows stacked for the night on his side of the bed are placed back up against the headboard where they belong, along with a prayer for those who have no bed.
Finally, I reach for the two small decorative pillows. These are very special pillows, you see, so they spend the night in the side chair. I think of these designer pillows as "love you can touch" because our daughter, Laura--Ken's Sweetie Pie--lovingly created them just for me, "to help detract from the pain of facing these first holidays." So I caress the roses and beaded fringe and count my blessings. This has become part of the bed-making ritual because they remind me daily, "You are loved."
Yes, even now, two years later, before I leave my little sanctuary, I turn and briefly glance about. With grateful heart, I open the blinds to the golden morning light of another new day! And with each new day, I experience more joy--and less sorrow! My heart beats with gratitude to the Father and I thank Him for this cozy room. Everything is in its place; the bed is dressed for the day and so am I. And I thank Him for the peacefulness and the feeling of security and orderliness that I find here. Then I ask Him to keep my mind equally well organized and disciplined, uncluttered and focused on the creative work He has blessed me with today!
Oh, may I warm your tea? Then please . . . get out of your rocking chair and make up your bed! Get dressed as though you were expecting a guest! Every day!
Now, let's take that walk!
By Mary Beatty
Make Up Your Bed and Walk!