Ya think about changing your sheets. Whether you do it as a disciplined thing or you wait until the sheets peel themselves off your bed and beg you PERMA PRESS ME, STAT, you are so glad when change comes. The clean sheets feel so crisp and fresh. But then the cycle repeats itself and you are rolling around in bed wishing the Snuggle bear would just do you a favor and toss you some new linens. Change happens again, exchanging the dirties for the cleans.
The thing about moving from Boston to Tennessee for me was that I naively thought I was just changing a set of sheets. It was time. The city living, I was ready to wash ourselves clean of the endless traffic, the population density, the high priced everything, the pollution. And so we did. We not only changed the sheets, we moved the whole bed and caboodle to the South wherein we were no closer to family and were now without friends. The soft scent of the new sheets wore off quickly as we battled real estate woes back in Boston for well over the first year.
Had we not experienced what we believed was a very specific calling to change our sheets at the appointed time and to come live with some new ones in an appointed place, I think the experience would have been much more fraught with doubt and fear.
And now, here we are. We have changed so much more than our sheets. My children pull bricks from their driveway to find potato bug colonies, they sing sabbath school songs in the car, they know about cherry limeade at Sonic, they chase butterflies on our acreage like a couple of Smurfs for crying out loud. They are Southerners. They have no concrete memories of the urbane streets we strolled everyday in their former city, splashing in the Frog Pond on the Boston Common, riding the T from Shawmut Station to Harvard Square.
These memories are becoming faint for me, too, like illustrations of someone else's enchanted life who was able to do the unthinkable: walk to get a chai latte on her way to work.
I thought I was only changing the sheets, you see. I thought I got to retain all the things I still liked about my life as I traded the excesses of the city for the simple pleasures of the country.
Not so. I just exchanged all the maladies and woes of my former geography for a new set in my new geography.
I am still uncomfortable in the South. I am still the weird girl in social circles. I am still too direct in most settings, and totally uninterested in pleasantries. I am intense, honest, generous, clumsy, and self-deprecating. I have a flair for brightly colored fabrics. I am a product of a Midwestern upbringing, a MidAtlantic education, and a New England professionalism. I cannot disinherit these sheets that have wrapped me up for twirtysomething years. I can only clean them and make them presentable.
My one comfort, other than the amazing Mr. Loverpants who should win a best supporting role in the play about my yammering, is the promise from Psalm 46:
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
Can I get a li'l 'Bless her heart' from y'all?