other fantastically futile feats of the everyday homemaker. This is truly one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe; can a fitted sheet ever really be folded properly? Whoever invented the fitted sheet solved one problem and created another equally frustrating problem. Folding fitted sheets falls last on my list of things to do. Folding fitted sheets is like herding cats, it can’t be done successfully. Even the U. S. military knows this — why do you think they don’t use fitted sheets?
Fitted sheets were made for a very specific, useful purpose but they weren’t made to “fit” the standards of flatness that any respectable sheet attempts to attain when folded. Fitted sheets are fine as long as they are fulfilling their purpose, as long as they are in use. The trouble arises when they are not being used and must be folded, taken out of circulation so to speak, sidelined, relegated to a shelf in a linen closet. But here the fitted sheets don’t fit, they can’t possibly reach the standard of flatness attained by the other sheets.
Let’s face facts friends. Fitted sheets and folded flat are mutually exclusive. If I can accept this truth perhaps my frustration with folding fitted sheets will cease. It is wasted effort and energy on my part to expect my fitted sheets to fit a folded form they were not formed to fit.
Folding fitted sheets has been frustrating for me for years. But as I write this I am experiencing empathy for my fitted sheets for the first time. Why? Because I often feel like a fitted sheet – I just don’t fit in, measure up to, or conform to the standards of the culture in which I live my daily life. I don’t “fit” in my world any more than my fitted sheets “fit” in my linen closet with all those perfectly folded flat sheets.
I was created by God for His good purposes. I was created to serve something other than myself. I was not made to be put away on a shelf, where I could rest and hang out with others doing the same thing. I was created for a purpose and can find fulfillment only in filling that purpose. This is not the easy way. Like the fitted sheet that I identify with, which must be stretched in many directions to fulfill its’ function – I must be stretched in many ways to fulfill my purpose.
Luke 2:52 tells me, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” If I am going to grow, I will be stretched out of my comfort zones. So I am stretched intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally as I grow in faith and am used by God for His purposes, not my own. Left to myself, I would not choose the discomfort of being stretched in so many different directions and so many different ways. But if I am sitting folded on the shelf, I am out of place. I don’t fit in because I can’t conform to the flatly folded image of the sheets around me. I can’t conform because I was created differently, created for something different. (just as the fitted sheet is created for fitting over the mattress but not for folding) I don’t belong there.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:7)
I’m tired of trying to fold fitted sheets, expecting them to conform to the flat form of pillow cases and other sheets. I need to stop trying to conform myself to the expectations of those around me, but instead allow myself to be transformed by Christ’s redeeming love into the person He created me to be all along. That transformation may mean being stretched a lot as I serve out my purpose, but it will lead to fulfillment as I live out the purpose for which I was created.
and this, dear readers, is the parable of the fitted sheet.
sincerely, Grace Day