A little dog named “Bear” taught me the meaning of unconditional love.
During my time as a “hermit” I spent most of my time with a dog named "Bear" (that looked a lot like this picture) and my horse Chico. We covered a lot of miles along the lower Illinois River and the backwoods between Gore and Vian, Oklahoma. Since I wasn’t around people much they were my surrogate family.
Bear was still a puppy at around 7 months old and not quite housebroke, but if I left him outside he would howl and scratch the door, so I let him in the little shack a lot. …and there was usually a mess to clean up.
On one particularly rough day when I didn’t catch any fish for dinner, he came in and raised his leg. It was bad timing and I screamed at him to stop and swatted him on the butt harder than I intended. Immediately I felt bad about it. His tail went between his legs and he whined a bit. Then came over to me and looked up at me with his sad brown eyes as if he knew I was having a bad day. He still loved me even though I had just “lost it” and was mean to him. Tears of remorse and love filled my eyes and I cried. At that moment, I realized that although I had been “in love” before, this little dog just taught me what love REALLY meant.
This is the kind of love that man has for a wife with Alzheimer’s who can’t remember his name but he stays by her side anyway (think “Notebook”). It’s is the kind of love Jesus had for us after we hung him on the cross and he said “Father forgive them.”
Today I know that love isn’t 50/50, it is 100% giving. THAT is real love. As my sponsor Cecil says, anything less is a business transaction.
The good news is that nothing feels as good as unconditional giving.