Being Valentines weekend, one can’t help but ponder on all things love related. Days like yesterday make us sit back and reflect on all the various forms love has graced us with. For some, the thought of love brings happiness and gushy lovey dovey feelings. For others, only sadness and disappointment comes to mind.
Often I hear the words “love stinks” uttered. Mainly as a statement of heartache that they are experiencing or have experienced in the past. I won’t lie, even I have spoken those words from time to time. It’s so easy to blame and curse love when our hearts have been shattered. Especially by those who promised to cherish us. But, does love actually ‘stink’? Is love really at fault for our brokenness?
Now, I want us to put our ‘big girl’ and ‘big boy’ hats on for a moment as I quote a popular passage from the bible about love. The following passage is regularly shared at weddings so many of you may already know it. I know there are some of you reading this who don’t believe in God, some who do believe in God and some who just don’t know. That is all totally okay. We are all on different journey’s and walk in different shoes. We are a peoples with different views and beliefs and should be entitled to live so freely. There is no judgement here, either for ‘God botherers ‘, atheists, those who don’t know or don’t care and for those who are patiently waiting for lightsabers to be invented to accompany their Jediism faith (yes, it’s a real religion – with a church and everything!). 🙂 Wisdom and knowledge comes in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. From temples, lecture hall, churches, movie theatres, battlefields, mountain tops and even the place you are sitting right now. We are an amazing race us humans. There is much we can learn from in this life. So, I implore you to read the following with an open mind.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Now everyone say ‘Awwwww’! 🙂
Doesn’t this love sound incredibly beautiful and perfect? This kind of love doesn’t ‘stink’ at all! I know what your thinking…your thinking – ‘poppycock! That’s not the love I’ve experienced. It’s the complete opposite! That kind of love doesn’t exist!’ You know what I say in response my friend? I say you are COMPLETELY justified to have that view point. The love I’ve experienced in this life is also contrary to the above description. Not only that but if I’m honest, I can shamefully say I have not given a love like this scripture talks about either. So, how can I still be of the opinion that love doesn’t ‘stink’? How can I assume that this is an accurate description of what true love is? Simple – because of dogs…
Those who know me will know that I am completely besotted with my long haired miniature dachshund – Jazzy. Jazzy is a rascal of a sausage who barks more than I like, has an unhealthy obsession with balls and completely loves me! There is nothing more precious than coming home from work to find her patiently waiting at the fence with her tail wagging faster than the speed of sound. Then when I get inside she is all over me like white on rice, smothering me with kisses and cuddles. To her, I am the best thing since scooby snacks! Even when I unjustly take my frustrations out on her for ALWAYS wanting to play ball – she still loves me. On those tiring days where I remember at 11pm that I haven’t given Jazzy her dinner – she still loves me. When I yell at her for once again chewing off the corners of my pillows and running around the house with the stuffing – she still loves me. Even when I push her aside when she’s just trying to have cuddles – she still loves me. Jazzy doesn’t withhold her love or change her love because of something I said or did. Her love is not based on my actions, its freely given on her own accord. She trusts me completely and her faith in me never ceases. She adores me no matter what! Jazzy longs to shower me with her doggy love. Anyone with a dog knows of this unconditional love I speak. It truly is heart warming.
So, if a dog’s love is evidence of this true loves existence – why do us humans get it so wrong?
I’ll tell you why….because we are selfish.
Yep! There it is! The ugly truth. We get so caught up in making number one happy that we neglect to think of the other people we experience life with. Our selfishness can lead us to say things we don’t mean and do things we might later regret – essentially hurting those we love.
I am yet to meet a selfish dog. There are so many extraordinary stories out there about dogs that sacrifice their comfort and even their lives for their humans. A dog will stop at nothing to protect, honour and serve the humans who adopted them. I have even heard sad stories where dogs still try to love their oppressive and abusive human masters. Dogs don’t know how to be selfish. They cannot help but love. It’s in their nature. Why else would they be called man’s best friend? I don’t think love is to blame for our brokenness at all, in fact I think it’s our human inability to handle love properly that is to blame.
If we want to have true ‘not stinky’ love, we must take notes from our fury four legged friends. Start thinking of the other person in your relationship. Don’t seek to get out of your companionship what you want, instead seek to give what they want. Some days you might not want to help with the washing, or watch that sports game, or be dragged around the shops. Do it anyway. If you both are seeking to please the other than both of your needs will be met. In the end you will get what you want, and not only that you will have a happy spouse. It’s a win win! Love is a choice. Jazzy chooses to love me even when I’m being a complete grouch. All those attributes of love listed in the scripture above are all choices that need to be made on a daily basis. As humans, it’s not easy to be patient, kind, unenvious, modest, humble, honouring, selfless, calm, forgiving, protective (particularly from yourself), trusting, hopeful and persevering. These go totally against our self seeking nature and are very hard to remember and act on, especially in heated moments. But, if you can persist through it willingly and with joyous attitude – the rewards will far outweigh the costs.
Happy valentines weekend my peeps, to you and your pooches! 🙂