purplethrowMy wife and I have an informal tradition. We alternate “making the bed.” It’s not a closely-regulated thing, mind you. We don’t have a chart with checkmarks. But in general, sometimes after I’ve gotten ready, on my way out of the bedroom, I’ll be sure that I make up the bed. And I try to make it look nice — as closely as I can to the way *she* can make it look. I try to arrange the bedspread neatly, without wrinkles, just like my mom taught me. I position the pillows just right… cover them up… put the decorative pillows on top (what are they for, anyway?), then yet another smaller pillow, and then, on top of all that, an almost life-sized replica of her dog, Mia, a Bichon Frise. So I position it all — all except a new “throw” at the base of the bed. I pretty much just… well… I *throw* it on the base.

I’ve often wondered why I do that. I take such time with the other blankets and stuff. Why am I so careless with that purple “throw” at the end.

Well I can tell you. It was added after the tradition began.

I didn’t ask for the throw. It just showed up there one day. Nor did my wife talk it through with me: “Honey, I’m wondering… if I add yet another item to the bed… a purple throw… would you embrace it just like you have the other things.. the pillows, the stuffed animal dog… the works?” Instead, it just popped onto the landscape there one day.

So… I guess, because it wasn’t a part of the original deal, I figure… I don’t owe it anything, you know? So I just sort of throw it. (It is, after all, a “throw,” right?)

Are there “throws” in your life, or that of your marriage? … or in the life of your team, church or organization? Is there a certain policy… maybe one you never really signed onto… and your organization or church is now kind of expecting you to keep it, but you don’t really feel an ownership of it? Now those 7 or 8 policies that were stated on the back of your application… the ones you were supposed to read before signing… you at least make an effort to follow those. Because, after all, you reason in your heart of hearts, “If I didn’t want to follow these, I should have never joined up.” But what about the extra stuff that was added afterward?

It’s an interesting question: Because, if we’re truly a member of the marriage, or the relationship, or the organization, church or company, then one would think we would sign on for current and future directives, just like the ones that predated us. But alas, I fear — that’s not our nature.

What about the “throws” that adorn your life? My take on these are as follows:

*** We should probably tune our minds to become self-aware enough to recognize the “throws” and, when we realize they’ve become a part of the picture, we should probably talk them through with the spouse, church leaders, organizational leaders, etc. If we’ve truly bought into the relationship, then we should ask the leadership to what extent we’re expected to “tow the line.” I could simply ask, “Honey, does it bother you that I just ‘throw the throw’? or… are you ok with that?” In other words, we need an understanding.

*** Once there is an understanding, I’m thinking we should, if we’ve truly bought into the relationship, own the new ‘throw’ just like it was a part of the original deal. Otherwise, our actions are speaking louder than words, saying that we really aren’t a belonger.

*** If the “throw” ever becomes burdensome… that is, if it changes the very nature of our commitment, we owe it to the other party to be honest about that too. “Honey, I gotta tell you… the bedspread I can take. The pillows have to be there. Even the dog… is ok. But that ‘throw’ … Either that throw goes or *I* go.” We owe it to the other party to talk these things through… because if we don’t, we’re just making them miserable, deep down inside, along with everybody else.

We can and must learn to relate to the “throws” in life. Until we do, I fear for our sense of commitment to the relationship.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’ve made my bed; now I’m going to go lie in it. :-)