"Dog spelt backward is God and they both show unconditional love."
Sadly, we lost our Eli (his photo above), two weeks ago. I'm very grateful he had little suffering and died peacefully. He was soon to turn 13 years old so he lived a long life for a large breed dog, but, honestly, losing him hurt worse for me than losing some humans. I think that is due to his unconditional love.
Wikipedia defines unconditional love: "Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love. Each area of expertise has a certain way of describing unconditional love, but most will agree that it is that type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging. ...Dogs are often considered to be examples of displaying unconditioned love."
I started to list all the cute ways Eli displayed unconditional love besides greeting me at the front door each day with his tail waging and him intuitively knowing if I wasn't feeling well hence covering my face with his rather large wet tongue, but it goes much deeper than that. The love he exuded towards me and many others is a feeling that I cannot articulate, and in his love was a level of trust that stirs my heart each time I think about it.
The unconditional love our dogs/pets give us is what family and friends often struggle with when loving us. How often do you retract your love from others if your conditions aren't met? Is it moment by moment, daily, weekly, or for someone's entire lifetime? How often do you retract your love from yourself if your self-imposed conditions for yourself aren't met? Is it moment by moment, daily, weekly or your entire lifetime? Are you waiting to be good enough, thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, funny enough, liked enough, rich enough to fully love yourself?
Self-love is the foundation to the most important relationship of all - that with yourself - (even more so than your pet's) and it's the prerequisite to truly loving others. The Golden Rule tells us, "Love your neighbor as yourself." This is a direct command to love you yourself! If you do not love yourself, you can't possibly love others.
God is unconditional love. Unconditional love is God. God resides in me, you, and everything. Allow this love to flow to you and through you. Surrender and bask in His unconditional love daily enabling and encouraging self-love; therefore, unconditional love for others. Don't wait until you feel good enough. God's love has no conditions.
You don't have to earn God's love!
There are no words to articulate the feeling of God's unconditional love, but once you experience it often, you'll willingly surrender into it and trust that He's got your back. You'll fully realize there is no separation - you are truly a child of God, you are One. In this, you'll naturally gravitate in loving service to others. Not out of a sense of obligation but because you want to serve.
I believe our greatest task is to love ourselves - no matter what - and to embody self-worth so that we can be love in action. That is true service to God. That is true service to others. That is true service to yourself.
I am eternally grateful to Eli for demonstrating so beautifully unconditional love and trust. May he sparkle on...
Copyright, Denna J. Shelton, 2019
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