Scout comes over to the bed where I am sitting, cross-legged, reading and typing, and hangs her snout over the edge and gazes up at me with her huge brown eyes. Her tail is thumping, and I say, "Do you want some LOVES?" and I scratch her head and her ears.
It is Sunday afternoon.
The Sunday services are ended. Everyone has gone home. I am home now too, sitting on the bed, writing on the computer, reading on line, and considering that this is my weekend, sort of.
I was at the church before eight this morning to practice my sermon, do some copying for a possible Bible study, check in with the Children's Ministry Coordinator. The woman who would be making coffee for fellowship was waiting in her car. I let her in, too, for the front doors were still locked.
It was a worship service packed with music. The children sang; our contemporary worship ensemble sang. We closed the service with "Down By the Riverside." I greeted two young families that I don't see very often. I stood in the doorway and greeted people as they left. It is the preacher's job to do this. Most people just shook my hand and said, "Good morning," without making any remarks, but toward the end of the line, one man thanked me for my sermon, and a woman said she thought it was a good one, as if she meant it. They are small things, these few words, but they gave me hope that the words sent out over the air had some Spirit in them, some grace in them, and that the work I do, that seems so ephemeral, really does mean something.
Now it is Sunday afternoon, time to think, or not think, to let go of the past week, and get ready to do it all again. Now it is Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting cross-legged on the bed, every once in awhile taking the opportunity to scratch my needy dog on the top of her head.
There are dishes in the sink that need to be washed (no, Virginia, we do not have a dishwasher). There are clothes that need to be put away. There are books on the floor. There are shoes everywhere. In a little while, I will attend to those things. But for now, the task is to let go of the last week, the sermon I preached, the people I visited, the prayers I said, the lessons I planned, the meetings I attended. Let go. Open my hands and let go of everything that has been in my heart of the past week.
The dog has gone back to her bed. She is curled up in a ball and doesn't need my loves, at least right now. But I need her. I go over to where she is, not sleeping, just curled up, with her tail all the way up to her nose. I scratch her head and her ears, and say she is my girl.
It is Sunday afternoon.
And I lay down my burden, just for a little while, before I take it up again.