I admire how easily dogs fall asleep.
Is it their freedom from worries? Or could it be their lack of preoccupation with tasks that lie in wait for them? Or perhaps it’s their constant practice at the fine art of good sleeping?
As I contemplate my morning readings, Maddie snores by my side with nary a care. Her body forms to the sides of the chair, her head rests on its arm. I look around to see that it’s this way with my other dogs too — all are completely at rest.
I wish I could rest this easily. I didn’t sleep well last night, though I have no worries or preoccupations that I can point to as sleep-nappers. Sometimes I just wake up at the indecent hour of four a.m. — and no matter how much I toss and turn to put myself back to sleep, sleep evades me.
Often, Max hears me stirring, and when he’s not already in bed with us, he jumps up to keep me company. Without need of invitation, Max drapes all forty-six pounds of his body on top of mine. I wonder if he’s trying to anchor my tossing with his weight or trying to bring me the comfort of his presence.
Perhaps Max just desires the comfort of my presence, since a minute later, my poodle comforter is snoring comfortably while I lie underneath him hot and wide awake. I feel Max’s body form to mine, with the full force of his weight shifting to me.
With no intention to do so, I begin to think thoughts. Thinking removes the last hope of my return to sleep. But thoughts come and this one was important to me, as I compare Max at rest to prayer at best. My dark night encounter with Max invites me to grow still, settle into a warm, comfy spot and allow whatever is weighing me down shift to God.
With prayers expressed and forth-six pounds of weight shifted, I shake awake Max to begin my day. Max is always happy to get an early start, as my day begins with his food bowl. I feed the dogs, make my coffee and find a comfortable chair to hold me. And there, resting in God’s word, I too fall sound asleep, in spite of the coffee. Thirty minutes later, I wake refreshed, ready for the day.
Now, with morning chores behind me and no worries or preoccupations pressing upon me, I’m wondering if I might indulge in a dog nap or two. Already I’m missing one good nap party behind me.
With the day still young and my dogs true party animals, I’ve no doubt there will be other nap parties to crash.