Single-Ply Living

My wife and I travel quite a bit. It’s something that we enjoy together and became accustomed to prior to the birth of our child. Even with the new addition to the family it hasn’t deterred us from packing up the car and heading out-of-town for the weekend. Whether taking a vacation or traveling for a work-related event, we’ve stayed in many different hotels in many different countries from 1-star to 4-star, and they all have one thing in common…

…the toilet paper.

White tissue paper on white background

This past weekend my wife had a conference on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so my 10-month old daughter and I packed up to go along. We spent all day Friday at the pool, lounging and swimming and napping. The hotel is very nice with the average room rate around $300/night. The room was spacious and well decorated with nice fixtures and furniture. We even had a Gulf view on the 18th floor. The bathroom had separate jetted tub and walk-in shower with marble tile throughout. It was a great place to stay and we had a great time.

But like all hotels, the toilet paper was single-ply. Isn’t funny how a hotel will go all out with their food, pool landscape, front entry, foyer, and even the shampoo and conditioner samples provided for your convenience, but the one thing ALL hotels skimp out on is the toilet paper. It’s probably the one item they go through the most, and when you’re trying to make a profit every penny counts.

The problem? It’s a cheap imposter that doesn’t get the job done and leaves you with a “not so clean” feeling. Plus you have to use more of it and inevitably there’s always a little bit left behind. I guess those bears in the Charmin commercials were right.

So, why use the cheap imposter instead of the real thing?

Unfortunately, that’s what many of us do, including myself. We create a cheap imposter to be accepted, to survive, or simply to regain a sense of self that we lost somewhere along the way.

We live a single-ply life.

Just like hotels, we’re trying to get ahead, look better than the competition on our balance sheet, and win over multitudes of people we haven’t even met. And it’s because we don’t believe the “real thing” is worthy or capable.

Single-ply living is also a solo act. There’s no room to receive feedback from others. There’s no room for meaningful relationship with others. There’s no room for God. As a good friend of mine says, “there are a lot of self-made men and women out there and they worship their creator.” That’s because the imposter always needs to keep the plates spinning in order to feed the false self or ego. The false self is all about control and masking what’s really happening so those we come in contact with think we’re the 4-star resort hotel with a bidet in each room, when really we’re only stocking single-ply just like all the 1-star hotels.

I’m trying to live a “2-ply” life and recover my authentic self. I am growing. I’m becoming more ME every day. But 2-ply implies more than one. It takes more than me alone working through my “stuff” to recover my authentic self. It requires that I walk with God. I am listening and God is speaking. I hear Him. He’s even speaking to me through toilet paper. However, in my head it’s still all about me—the false me. My false self wants to be “recognized” for how I’m growing. In fact, my false self wants to be seen as the guy that has it all together, or the guy that has “figured it out.” It just goes to show how deeply the false self can burrow into our character and psyche, and at the same time, reveal to us that we can’t recover our authentic self all by ourselves.

There is no figuring it out. There is only growing; becoming more of who God created us to be in the first place and walking hand-in-hand with Him. It’s a beautiful journey filled with awe and bewilderment…glory and tragedy…good and bad. That’s 2-ply living.

We weren’t meant for single-ply living. We were meant for greater. And we were given everything we needed when we came into this world. Somewhere along the way we lost it and began accepting an imposter of our own creation. Maybe hotels think it’s acceptable to provide single-ply toilet paper in their fancy bathrooms elevated above the coastline, but for me, I want something better. The cheap imposter is no longer an option.

Keep shedding the mask.