A few nights ago our poodle could not sleep. She was sore from the injection she had been given at her one year physical, earlier that day. After being subjected to several long minutes of pitiful crying we let her out of her crate to see if she could sleep on one of our beds.
She chose mine. At 3:30 am this feels like less of honor than it actually is. As she settled in she decided that she wanted to be snuggle sleeping (which entails some part of my body to be touching hers, at all times. Preferably with my face as close as possible to hers, so she can lick it periodically).
There is an indescribable and singular joy one feels when a creature chooses you for comfort. When they trust you to hold them while they are at their most vulnerable.
Having a child fall asleep in your arms invokes similar feelings. There is a different level of trust associated with these activities. Watching Moo sleep, at 3:30 am, was more lovely that I anticipated at that ungodly hour.
It brings to mind the privilege it is for us to take care of each other. Too often we are caught up in the work it takes, the reasonable or unreasonable expectations others have, the conflict with our schedules, the inconvenience it creates in our daily lives. This is wrong. That kind of thinking leads to isolation and disconnection.
The desire to care for others should be basic, fundamental, and deeply ingrained within us. The desire to care for others is the first building block in creating a community. And community is the core of a healthy, functioning society.
However, these thoughts were far from my mind in the small hours that morning. At that moment, as the sun begins to think about making an appearance, all I feel is contentment in watching another of God’s creatures enjoy the comfort I am offering, and rest.