Monday, April 14, 2008

Chartreuse Pillowcase

When I lay down in bed to sleep tonight, I will sleep on a Chartreuse Pillowcase. I bought it at a thrift store along with a set of sheets. I did not buy it because it matched the sheets, because it didn't. Nor did I choose it because it matched the sheets that were already on my bed, because it didn't. The reason I bought it, however, was because it clashed with the sheets I was buying less than the other pillowcases in the bin. And the funny thing is that, though the sheets are long gone, I still have the pillowcase and I sleep on it every night. It doesn't match my sheets; in fact it clashes. I reflected to my bride one night, “Honey, I hope my pillowcase doesn't keep you awake. It's pretty loud.”

And you know what else is funny? I have a pillowcase that matches my sheets, but I don't use it.

My sheets have a Navajo sort of print with lots of Southwestern colors, like turquoise, green, and salmon. It should be fairly easy to find something that matches something in my sheets because they have so many different colors.

But, like the crippled boy who buys a crippled dog “because the dog needs somebody who can understand him,” I love my Chartreuse Pillowcase because it is so reflective on my life and my walk with God.

From a purely practical point of view, it really doesn't matter what color my pillowcase is. All I really need is a bit of cloth around my pillow to keep it from getting greasy, to keep it form getting sneezed on, and, perhaps most importantly, to keep it from getting drooled on. Certainly, my designer bride would prefer something that matched some color in our home or in my sheets. And it isn't as if there wasn't quite a palate from which to choose. My wooden headboard offers some great wood tones. The bare linoleum on the floor is in warm stone tones and the carpeting that covers part of it is in an earthy blue and gray. The quilt on the bed offers a rainbow of blues. The under quilt is off-white with red and blue embroidery flowers. The sheets try to fit in with a Southwestern palate of turquoise, green, burnt salmon and beige. But for all of the color, there is no chartreuse. In fact, there is no chartreuse in our entire house. The pillowcase doesn't fit in. It is a stranger, an alien, a refugee from some bold bedroom set made up of a palate completely missing from my home. More than once I have thought I should get rid of it and replace it with something else, something more agreeable, something more “normal.”

And that is how I feel in this world of ours. I have set my heart upon God, upon His law, upon His values and I find that I frequently stand out in my dealings with the inhabitants of this world. My employers often wonder that I would make such a big deal over not working on the Sabbath, and that I would be so ticklish about when Sabbath started and what I would be willing to do on the Sabbath. My business associates marvel that I would be willing to lose money on a sale because I insisted on speaking the truth concerning some “gray” area. My banker was aghast that I would risk losing the house I was trying to buy because I insisted that, if the document said that I signed it on such and such a day, that I had, in fact, signed it on such and such a day. Every day, it seems, Satan is at hand to tell me how mentally deficient I am and how exalted position I could obtain if I would just compromise on this principal and how much easier my life would be if I would just give in on that scruple.

I am afraid that I am called to be a Chartreuse Pillowcase in a world of earth tones, off-white and gray. The world would have me dim my colors by dye or by bleach, just so long as I didn't stand out quite so much. “You're clashing with the headboard. You're clashing with the sheets. You're clashing with the comforters! Why don't you just get real and grow up?”

But when I stop and listen for that still, small voice within, I hear a smile and anticipate the echo of His voice, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in little things. I will entrust you with big things. Enter into My rest.”

And that makes it all worthwhile.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.