GOD Spelled Backward Is…
“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.”
Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe
(in a letter to President Franklin Pierce)
There can be no greater Bible passage that speaks of the greatest commandment of God’s, than the one I have included below, from 1 Corinthians 13. AGAPE! A selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, which is the highest of the four types of love that are spoken of in the Bible! And while there will be some who may question my use of the picture above when comparing God’s love for us and a dog, they are probably people that have never had a pet/companion. You see, those who have known the nuzzles and licks and contented meows and chirps and barks of all of the companion/pets God has seen fit to give to us to share our lives with, know EXACTLY what I mean!
God loves us DESPITE and IN SPITE of all that we humans do by word and deed, to prove how undeserving we are of that love! Because of the fallibility of our very nature, we disobey, we sin, we are selfish and egocentric…..all very unlovable characteristics! We mortal beings are perhaps the most undeserving of love of any living being that shares planet Earth with us. And yet, His love for us was so great and absolute, that He gave we humans a means by which we can know eternal life! Just read John 3:16 NIV, ” For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
AGAPE! Such love is beyond the human ability to grasp with our minds, and when we attempt to rationalize that which can only be known when looking with the heart, we often fail ourselves and Him. That is the weakness that humans have that our companion/pets do not. You see, because they do not have the capacity for abstract thought, they know only love for those who share their world. One single kindness shown, secures their devotion for all time…usually! And even when we fail them through abuse or neglect, their first instinct is to keep loving us, despite the harm we cause, whether it is intentional or unintentional. That is why I believe with all my heart that GOD spelled backward is DOG (and CAT and BUNNY and HAMSTER and HORSE and ALL COMPANION/PETS) who share this planet with what is sometimes God’s greatest and yes, at times, His worst, creation! And while God gave us “His one and only Son” for eternal life, He gives us our companion/pets for this temporary life!
Today’s post was inspired by this letter sent from Fiona Apple explaining to her fans why she must postpone a concert date. I am impressed at the way she was instantly able to make the decision to choose love over her career. Indeed, the world needs more of this. Enjoy the story…
It’s 6 pm on Friday, and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I’m writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later.
Here’s the thing.
I have a dog, Janet, and she’s been ill for about 2 years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then — an adult, officially — and she was my kid.
She is a pit bull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face.
She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders.
She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.
Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We’ve lived in numerous houses, and joined a few makeshift families, but it’s always really been just the two of us.
She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.
She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me, all the time we recorded the last album.
The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks, every 6 or 7 years.
She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it more dangerous for her to travel, since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.
Despite all this, she’s effortlessly joyful & playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She is my best friend, and my mother, and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.
I can’t come to South America. Not now. When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference.
She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore.
I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know she is coming close to the time where she will stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.
Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to decide what socks to wear to bed.
But this decision is instant.
These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love & friendship.
I am the woman who stays home, baking Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable & comforted & safe & important.
Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life that keeps us feeling terrified & alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments.
I need to do my damnedest, to be there for that.
Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known.
When she dies.
So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and I am revelling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I’m asking for your blessing.
I’ll be seeing you.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 NIV
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