On unconditional love

Got a call the other night from my older brother, seems that his old [16years] Doberman wasn’t fairing too well. Duke, it did turn out, passed a couple of days later. Neither one of my brother’s handled it very well, the loss I mean. You’d think that in your 60s it would get somewhat easier, but it doesn’t. Our pets leave the little footprints across our hearts, don’t they? And then I started to think about all the dogs we’ve had in our lifetime, since 1955 actually, and the stories and all their different personalities with all the love we have shared over our lifetime; pretty soon, I started to focus on the love that each has shown all of us. We can learn a thing or two from our pets, can’t we? Yes, it’s up to our animals to teach us about unconditional love.

What is it about that type of love that makes it sound so unpleasant? Isn’t that supposed to be the most pure form of love—love and appreciation with no strings attached? Just love, pure and simple. If you are loved back, then that’s good. If you aren’t, then that’s good too. Oh, sure, that’s the way most of us start out, as if we were the first and last to fall in love; slowly but surely our egos get involved and pretty soon there are conditions, boundaries and rules that nobody in their right mind would ever adhere to at which point the love has to be earned instead of being given freely. And you just stand there scratching your head trying to figure out how something so sweet became something so sour just over a couple of misplaced words, notions or innuendos. Nope, we have one way of loving things or objects and we have a completely different way of loving another human being. Now’s the time you wish you had picked up that pet that you wanted.

So, what is it that separates us (mankind) from the animals (our pets)? Well, we’ve already touched on the limits, conditions, boundaries and rules. Animals don’t play that. Maybe they know something we don’t, something quite basic, that unconditional love is a way of life that has no limits and by setting up rules, limits and conditions we are actually fencing ourselves in and limiting ourselves in so many ways. With all the dogs we’ve had in our lifetime, none of them ever liked fences. The moment we can go beyond those self-induced limits, the whole world opens up and we can touch all of the possibilities that our world has to offer; we can cast the shackles off of our imaginations.

With all of the ups and downs and the highs and lows that we have to go through on a daily basis, there is something magical about seeing your dog at the end of the day. No, they can’t offer any words of advice or bits of encouragement but you know just by looking into their eyes that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and therein lay the secret. You can feed them. Or not. You can give them some water if you have a mind to. You can play with them or you can scold them and they’ll love you no matter what and want nothing or expect nothing in return. And that’s as close as you’re going to get to God’s love here on this earth—unconditional love, purely and simply, asking for nothing in return and given time, they will leave indelible little paw prints across our hearts.

Martin Luther King Jr. said I believe that the unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That may have worked for Dr. King but I say that someday I hope to be the kind of man that my dogs think I am. I can work towards that. At least, that’s how I see it. MLProko (2011)  more at www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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