THE TATTERED PATCH OF GREEN CATCHES MY EYE as I lift another box from the deck of the big, yellow moving truck. Dropping the box to one side, I move a dining room chair, shuffle some shelves, and finally stand on tiptoe to peer between the columns of cardboard. As I get a better look, my heart begins to thump faster. I shove my fist deep into the boxes, grab a handful of polyester, and pull an ugly, green blanket into the sunlight.
Someone hits the rewind button, and for a moment, I visit my childhood—lying on my blanket in the sunshine, curling up with my blanket in the (very small) backseat of our Plymouth Arrow, dragging my blanket through the dust as I follow my dad into the garden, waiting anxiously beside the dryer. For a moment, I am Linus again—just a boy and his blanket.
Dragging myself back to the future, I smile down at the threadbare wad of cloth, and wonder where the years have gone. I scan my memory for the last time I held the blanket. Perhaps I tucked it away when I realized my security didn’t come from a worn blanket but from a mom and dad who feared God and loved each other. They weren’t perfect, and life was sometimes tough, but I never went to bed wondering if one of them would be gone the next morning. Their love was my real security blanket.
Today, I’m the daddy of a little girl who carries around her own blanket. It’s yellow. I long to share with her that same sense of security, but it’s not easy. Sociologists predict that marriage itself is dying. Busy lives, exhaustion, financial conflict, sexual temptation, addictions, and a host of other deadly traps threaten today’s family. The 21st century is not an easy place to live.
But then again, neither was the 20th century. I remember missionary Lorene Miley’s anguished cry when her thirteen-year-old son left for boarding school a thousand miles from their home, “Oh, God please…”
My heart finishes her cry. Oh God, please…
Protect my daughter’s heart from lust, bitterness, and pride.
Give her a desire to know you more.
Teach me to love my family the way that you love me.
Keep her safe—not from the dangers of the world, but from the dangers within.
Small hands slide around my arm and interrupt my thoughts. “Daddy, what’s that thing? It’s ugly!”
“It’s my blanket.”
David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America," The National Marriage Project, Rutgers University, 1999.
Lorene Miley, I Looked for a Man and Found One, Randall House Publications, 1983, pg. 115.