We have many blankets in our family room. In the corner is a basket home for them (as if we actually fold and put them away). No, they’re usually strewn about… on the couch, the green and gold afghan my grandma crocheted for me when I was a senior in high school (its colors a timeless reminder of how I never ended up going to Baylor. Plans change). On the ottoman is a black and orange Valley fleece blanket my mother-in-law made for one of the boys a few years ago. On the floor, an ugly, rough, south-of-the-border blanket I’ve never liked, although it still hangs around. On the beanbag, a grey souvenir blanket we got on an (unseasonably cold) music festival cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago. It makes me smile. These are joined by a half dozen others, various styles and origins, all ready for movie night or a football game or just cuddling up with a book.
I love these blankets. They feel especially good when the cold wind howls outside, but truth be told, we cover up with ’em year-round. It doesn’t matter. Maybe we just find them comforting. Warm. Protective.
I’m knitting a blanket for Trevor to take with him when he goes to college this fall. (It’s purple, so it’ll work whether he chooses UNI or Truman State.) I figure, if I brought him home from the hospital in a blanket 18 years ago, I might as well send him off in one, too. If he should get homesick, maybe it’ll be the touch of home that brings comfort.
My mom gave me a quilted blanket this past Christmas, made with squares of some of Dad’s shirts that she couldn’t part with after his death two years ago. This quilt is a great remembrance piece. I remember Dad wearing these shirts. I haven’t actually used the blanket yet; it sits folded on top of our cedar chest, with the shirt fronts folded to the inside. I think the day will come when I use it, but for now, maybe I just don’t want the sadness wrapped around me.
Thinking about these blankets got me pondering the intangibles we wrap around ourselves every day… feelings and emotions, our outlook on life, our defense mechanisms. How we face each day depends on what attitude we put around our shoulders when we get out of bed in the morning. We choose our outlook more subconsciously than I might choose a blanket for TV night, but it’s still a choice.
Many days, I can be all too comfortable wrapping myself in the wrong things. Cynicism. Pride. Some days, I’m smothered by my own self-doubt. Maybe you can relate. God’s Word warns us to resist getting too cozy with these things. There are others. Worry. Fear. An unwillingness to forgive. But just because these might be comfortable and familiar doesn’t mean we have to keep choosing them over and over. They never end up protecting us like we think they will. They just grow heavier over time. Maybe Jesus had something like this in mind when he talked about his yoke being easy and his burden light. I like this translation of Matthew 11:29-30: “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (The Message.)
Light blankets are my favorite ones. So, in the spirit of the metaphor, I can appreciate this.
What, then, can we drape around us that won’t weigh us down? Here are some ideas from Colossians 3:12-14: “Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it” (The Message).
Today, may you be wrapped in comfy blankets and, even better, in the lightness of this kind of spirit God has in mind for you.
by Angie Schmitt