While many of us probably dread Monday mornings, Isaac the Dog looks forward to its dawning. I recently switched my weekly day off to Mondays, so this is the day when Isaac gets an extra walk, an occasional ride, and much more attention. Every morning, I sit on the couch with him to drink coffee and meditate on Scripture. He usually snuggles up to me, and as long as one hand is on him, he's as content as a duck in water. But on Monday mornings, the lack of deadlines and schedules allow for extra belly scratches for him.
This past Monday morning, I was more distracted than usual. Even though I was taking the day off, my mind was already on the next sermon, the next confirmation class, the next yoga class, and the next Bible study that I had to plan. I kept thinking ahead on a day supposedly set aside
to think far beyond the present moment. After reading some Scriptures and meditating on them, I kept searching the Bible. I had one hand on Isaac and the other flipping pages (the coffee had to wait its turn). Usually this satisfies him.
But not on the Sabbath.
Somewhere between Jesus showing his hands and feet to Thomas and his hosting of breakfast by the sea, Isaac nuzzled his nose under the Bible. Before I could say, "Peace be with you," God's Holy Word had flipped into the air and onto the floor. Replacing it in my lap was a cold, wet nose and big brown eyes that said, "Hey Mom. What's up?" I'm not sure which surprised me more: the strength of my dog's nose (it's a heavy Bible!) or the shock that he would use that strength to push aside God.
When I told my parents about Isaac's action, they expressed concern that he was trying to compete with Jesus. When I told my boyfriend, he jokingly (I think?) questioned whether or not Isaac bordered on blasphemy with his action.
As for me? I laughed. I laughed, pulled the 55 pounds of dog closer to me, and said, "Thanks for reminding me to take it easy, bud. But please don't make a habit of that."
While I don't want the pup to compete with my Boss or lean towards blasphemy, Isaac's action was exactly what I needed in that moment. Without realizing it, I had moved into "work" mode at a time when I most needed to rest. Yes, I needed to prepare for all of those activities, but there was no need to rush them. What I needed more than anything, after working six days in a row, was to "remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy (or, set apart)" (Exodus 20:8).
Throughout the Torah are more specific instructions on the Sabbath, many of which point to the importance of not working. Of course, Jesus challenged & interpreted the Pharisees' understanding of the Sabbath, and we must keep those in mind, too. But what we see throughout Jesus' life and ministry is that he consistently took time to rest. If we are going to follow in his footsteps, modeling our lives after his, we should also set aside those "holy" moments to rejuvenate.
For me, such rest and rejuvenation comes from time spent with my four-legged friend. He reminds me to enjoy life's simplest pleasures. He reminds me to take joy in a walk around the block. He reminds me that it's okay to linger now and then. He reminds me to play. And of course, he lives into his name, which means, "he will laugh." My prayer is that all of us will find our Isaacs, whether they are two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, or multi-legged. These are the people and creations who remind us to relax, to enjoy life, and to take time for quiet. If we have trouble finding those moments, please take one or two minutes after reading this musing just to sit and relax. Name what you are grateful for on this day. Think of something that makes you laugh. Sing a song of praise to God. Or just sing a fun song (Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" will usually bring a smile!).
And do read your Bible; just don't forget to pet the dog, too.
all good things to each of you,