Monday, October 29, 2007


“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28-30

Panda has had a restless night. She’s jumped up in bed with me repeatedly and each time she obediently gets down when I tell her to, only to hop back up within just a few minutes. Rex got up with her to let her outside, which usually solves the problem, but not this time. It’s obvious that I’m not going to get any peace, so I finally get up with her. This time when I let her out, she stands on the deck woofing deep, even, single barks, at what, I don’t know. It’s not her typical fit of excitement announcing a visit from a neighborly raccoon, nor her high-pitched defense warning system when an unknown human is nearby. No, this is definitely different. Due to the blanket of snow and half moon, I can easily see far down the cliff into the woods, but I see only snow and barren trees. Whatever has Panda riled remains a mystery to me, and maybe even to her.

I let her back in, a blast of frigid winter air rushing in with her. We’ve had a cold streak plunging the temperature to zero and below for days. Panda’s dogging me now, following me closely as I turn on the coffeepot, traipse to my closet to grab my terry cloth robe and slippers, and I know this means no going back to my warm bed and cuddling up with Rex. So I situate myself in my favorite living room chair, rest my achy back against a heating pad, and cover up with my mom’s soft, pink throw to sip my coffee and write.

It’s not long before Panda-Dear is peering up at me, patiently waiting for an invitation to take over my lap. We play our little game in which I coax and she pretends indifference, until she says, “Well, if you insist!” (No, of course, she doesn’t really say this – it’s printed in the little comic strip bubble above her head.) Having saved face by making me beg, she is now curled up safely in my lap drifting back to never-never land. I, on the other hand, am AWAKE! My legs are beginning to ache from her weight, but I know from experience, that in just a few minutes, she’ll abandon my lap, stretch elegantly and luxuriously like a dancer warming up before a performance, and settle peacefully onto the carpet a few feet from my chair.

My mind alert for a spiritual application, I smile as I picture God curled up in a Lazyboy chair, dressed in rumpled, flannel PJs and robe, hair all matted from sleep, sipping a latte (heaven’s kitchen is a wee bit more gourmet than mine). I’ve awakened Grace and she graciously invites me to join her, yawning deeply and rubbing her eyes as I climb gratefully into her generous lap. I realize that it is Mama-God who rises with me in the early sleepless hours before dawn and sits with me, a comforting presence when I’m ruffled and restless. I just need to sit in her lap for a bit, just long enough to synchronize my breathing to hers, like I used to do as a little girl curled up contentedly on the sofa next to my daddy.

Just a few minutes in the lap of Grace is all I need.
Quality time, PRN.

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