Everyday Christian: Confessions of a serial doona hog
The realisation that rocked my world
I have discovered something horrifying about myself in the past few weeks: I am a doona hog. That’s right, I am a doona hog – not, as it turns out, my often-blamed husband.
I made this unnerving discovery after my husband headed down to the couch one night. Worried he would disturb me with his restlessness, this kind man chose to toss and turn on the narrow piece of furniture designed for backsides rather than staying in his rightful, and considerably more comfortable, place in our marriage bed.
So when I awoke that morning with the sheets and doonas strewn all over the floor as usual, a realisation dawned on me. My husband was not to blame!
Then the revelation: it’s not him, it’s me!
For years I had smugly yet dutifully made the dishevelled bed in the morning, believing my husband to be the culprit of the nightly bed-linen massacre.
I would add this act of bed remaking to my mental checklist of gracious, Christian wifely deeds – which also includes finding car keys and wallets, and turning smelly socks in the right way before washing. And afterwards, I would commend myself for putting up with other people’s annoying habits without complaining – well, most of the time anyway.
Putting up with doona wrestlers is simply one of the sacrifices I must make as a Christ follower, I thought.
But then the revelation: it’s not him, it’s me! This revelation has been confirmed numerous times recently, as my poor, stressed husband has continued to resort to the couch. And yet time and time again, I have been waking up half-strangled by the sheet with the doona draped along the floor on my side of the bed.
It’s not just the doona-hog outing that has rocked my world. This event has made me question my own role in other ongoing domestic offences.
I must admit that I may have – a few times, at least – been responsible for stacking the dishwasher incorrectly, putting the plates where the bowls should go.
And I have been guilty of drinking the last swig of milk and then failing to add the item to the shopping list.
And perhaps some of the chocolate stains on the couch were created by me …
My whole image of myself as the perfect housemate … has crumbled.
You see where I’m going with this? My whole image of myself as the perfect housemate surrounded by a bunch of doona-hogging, milk-thieving, dishwasher-incompetent, chocolate-smearing family members has crumbled.
And if my infallible housemate facade is riddled with holes, then my other views of myself – the expert advice-giver, the always-right arguer, etc. – are also likely to be flawed.
The fact that I have always known these ugly truths about myself doesn’t make them any less shocking. Because over time, I slip back into the lies I tell myself about my own infallibility (and everyone else’s fallibility). So I need regular reminders of my imperfections – my own annoying habits – as wake-up calls, reminding me to be grateful for the ways in which my long-suffering family puts up with me.
Of course, this is all sounding a lot like my relationship with God – my tendency to trust in my own goodness and strength, and God’s reminders of my imperfections and my continued need for his grace.
So, as I make my peace with my own doona-hoggery (once again), I feel the need to apologise not only to my husband for the many times I have incorrectly blamed him, but I also feel prompted to apologise to God.
I want to apologise to God for my lack of humility and for the times I fail to recognise my own sinfulness, and to ask for his forgiveness and a new sense of gratitude for his grace.
After that, I might also pray for a king-size doona.