Unconditional Love

I was doing my favorite work-out this morning, on the floor for crunches, chest flies, bicycle legs, and side planks. As I was working toward that better, stronger body, I felt the tongue of my dog licking my face. It wasn’t the slobbery, stinky kiss you might associate with a dog kiss. It was the feathery lightness of memory. My dog died three days ago. He was my 15 year old, 15 year strong, friend and the pain of his loss is raw in ways I’ve never felt before. But that memory made me smile. And then cry. So much for the work-out.
Gipper’s death ironically coincided with something a friend posted on Facebook, a little song/video that compares God and dog. This isn’t really a new concept; we’ve all seen the “Dog is my co-pilot” vs. “God is my co-pilot” bumper stickers. The video furthers the comparison and sweetly talks about the unconditional love of both God and dog for us. My favorite line is, “They would stay with me all day. I’m the one who walks away. But both of them just wait for me and dance at my return with glee.” It’s that unconditional love waiting for me in a patch of sunlight that I miss the most, although the warm body sleeping in my lap, the vacuuming Gipper used to do for me with his snorty little pug appetite, the spring of his step before arthritis slowed him down to a crawl are all part of the loss too. Just knowing that Gipper was there with a plentitude of kisses waiting for me no matter what the day had brought, where I had failed, where my selfishness had taken me, or where my anger was directing me was enormously comforting. He didn’t care. He just loved me and that was that.
The lesson here is that God feels the same way about us. Even on a grander scale because He actually created us rather than merely lives with us. How much more then He must love us. No matter what. As we strive to become “the light of God in a broken world,” it is this kind of unconditional compassion and love that we must emulate. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 25: 40. Whether it be feeding the hungry, providing drink for the thirsty, clothing the poor, helping the ill, when we reach out to “the least served,” we are doing God’s work on earth, showing His unconditional love to the world. It requires looking past differences, perceived motives, barriers created in our own minds. It requires forgiveness, action, and unwavering kindness. It is motivated by compassion.
My prayer today is that we all feel some amount of unconditional love… whether it be a dog’s or God’s. And then having felt that, I pray we feel emboldened to try it for ourselves, that we try giving out unconditional love. Compassion Tea is a good place to start.

(Here is the link for the video if you would like to see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17edn_RZoY)

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