Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

Have you experienced unconditional love? I hope so. I have and I know there’s no greater joy. I’ve been blessed twice with this gift and only now have come to realize how lucky I’ve been. I guess its age creeping up on me but the thought of living without this love in my life is like a dark cloud on the horizon. I know the storm is coming. And like the weather, there’s nothing I can do about it except focus on the thought that seasons change, the rain will pass and the sun will shine again.

But what is unconditional love? Rosi loves me – and I couldn’t be happier. She’s my closest friend and staunchest confidant. But is her love unconditional? More importantly, should it be? Of course not. A marriage is all about trust and commitment and compromise. It’s a partnership that both have to contribute to. Ignore this relationship or take it for granted and love fades; replaced by complacency and resentment. So no, a wife’s love is hardly unconditional, nor should it be.

And what about Brad? As much my best friend as anyone and my son in every sense of the word. Does he love me? – I know he does – just as I love him. In a much different way than Rosi but no less deeply and no less committed. But is it unconditional? A son’s love is like no other but like any relationship it’s a two way street. Treat each other with dignity and respect and the relationship grows. But ignore each other or worse, treat the other poorly, and love soon fades. It’s not unconditional.

So then, what is this thing called unconditional love? In my mind it’s only one thing. The loyal companionship of a dog. I know many will disagree: those that don’t own a dog, or those that cling to the antiquated notion that dogs are just things – chattels to be bought and sold. But for a lucky few of us, we know. A dog’s love is given freely. Unconditionally. A friendly face first thing in the morning and a warm smile last thing at night. A sympathetic ear when no one else will listen and that one “person” whose happy to see us every time we walk in the door. Whether we’ve been gone five minutes, five hours or five days, it doesn’t matter. That my friends, is unconditional love.

“An old man and his dog were walking down this dirt road with fences on both sides, they came to a gate in the fence and looked in, it was nice - grassy, woody areas, just what a 'huntin' dog and man would like, but, it had a sign saying 'no trespassing' so they walked on.

They came to a beautiful gate with a person in white robes standing there. "Welcome to Heaven" he said. The old man was happy and started in with his dog following him.
The gatekeeper stopped him. "Dogs aren't allowed, I'm sorry but he can't come with you." "What kind of Heaven won't allow dogs? If He can't come in, then I will stay out with him. He's been my faithful companion all his life, I can't desert him now. " "Suit yourself, but I have to warn you, the Devil's on this road and he'll try to sweet talk you into his area, he'll promise you anything, but, the dog can't go there either. If you won't leave the dog, you'll spend Eternity on this road " So the old man and dog went on.

They came to a rundown fence with a gap in it, no gate, just a hole. Another old man was inside. "Scuse me Sir, my dog and I are getting mighty tired, mind if we come in and sit in the shade for awhile?" "Of course, there's some cold water under that tree over there. Make yourselves comfortable " "You're sure my dog can come in? The man down the road said dogs weren't allowed anywhere." "Would you come in if you had to leave the dog?" " No sir, that's why I didn't go to Heaven, he said the dog couldn't come in. We'll be spending Eternity on this road, and a glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now. But, I won't come in if my buddy here can't come too, and that's final. "

The man smiled a big smile and said "Welcome to Heaven." "You mean this is Heaven? Dogs ARE allowed? How come that fellow down the road said they weren't?" "That was the Devil and he gets all the people who are willing to give up a lifelong companion for a comfortable place to stay.They soon find out their mistake, but, then it's too late.

The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there. GOD wouldn't allow dogs to be banned from Heaven. After all, HE created them to be man's companions in life, why would he separate them in death?"

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