Monday, June 23, 2014

Love of animals

            When it comes to animals and love of animals, in my opinion, people are divided into two classes those who are able to experience a profound love for animals and those who can’t and therefore don’t understand the first group. My comments about this last chapter will probably be understood by the people who at least once in their lives have loved an animal, be it a horse, a cat, a dog or any other pet. The other group, those people who have yet to have a special relationship with an animal, will probably just think I am crazy¾but hopefully they will begin to understand those of us who deeply love animals. And maybe they will be more patient and understanding when they see someone who has lost a dear furry friend.

            Some people think animals are animals and they are not meant to be loved, just enjoyed or used for work. Some people believe animals lack the capacity to love and to feel the same emotions humans do. I am not a scientist, and I have not done thousands of hours worth of research about this topic, but I have had many pets, and I have spent long hours with them. Here are my observations.

            Animals have an immense capacity to love us, to forgive us, to understand us and to remain next to us no matter what. My relationships have been with dogs, but I know that the type of animal does not matter; thousands of people are able to enjoy the love of intelligent animals of different species all around the world. The Bible says that animals were made for our companionship and enjoyment, and this is what I believe. And because they are creatures created by God, we must take good care of them.

            In my opinion, being able to love and be kind to an animal is the first step to being able to love a human being. After all, animals are vulnerable, they never answer back, they do not have a concept of revenge, and they always forgive and forget. If we are not able to love such a creature, one that is always ready to love us and to receive our love, then how do we expect to be able to love a human when humans are much more complicated beings?

            The pain that comes from the death of a furry friend is real and deep. When we lose a pet, we need people who are important to us to understand us and give us their support and their love. So, next time someone you love loses a pet,  please remember Ellie, and understand that even if you don’t feel the same way about animals, there are some people who do, and they are in desperate need of your love and understanding.

             A pet can be a confidant to us, a best friend, a companion, our playmate, our pal. When I think of my dog and I try to describe him, I find it impossible. He is a very special creature that God put on this earth for me to take care of and enjoy and love. He is precious to me. When I am sad, he cheers me up; when I am scared, he makes me feel safe; and when I am lonely, he is my great companion. He has been by my side for a very long time, and he holds a very special place in my heart. It will be very hard for me on the day I have to let go of him, the day I am asked to say goodbye.

            Animals never judge us, not by our actions, by our looks, by our personality or by our economic situation. All animals want and care about is for us to love them. If you have not yet had the wonderful experience of owning and loving an animal, I advise you to give it a try. An animal will unlock feelings you never knew you had.  Watch  programs on animals and/or wild life, or read some books on this topic and learn about animal behaviour it will surprise you. Go ahead, because loving animals is a way to start loving our world, and caring for animals is a way to start caring for our environment. Take the first step, and don’t be afraid. The experience you go through  when you love an animal is worth the pain you will feel when you lose the animal.

            We are often too fast to see the dark side of the world. There is so much to love, so much to enjoy, so much to share. Embark upon the adventure that it is to love an animal, and you will see that there are many more sweet moments in life in store for you if you just open your heart to them.

Wisdom to contemplate:

“The LORD God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.’ So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.” (Genesis 2:18-19)

“Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.” (Romans 1:20)

Friday, June 20, 2014

The dangers of fear

Fear is normal and natural. Many times, our fears are even well founded. So it is not good to deny our fears or to try to suppress them. Our fears should be confronted and beaten. Sometimes what we need to do to defeat a fear is to share it with someone¾a loved one, an advisor, a teacher, a friend. Other times, we can do research and read about the subject and see how others feel about it. Many times, sharing with others and realizing that others go through the same fears help us deal with our own fears.

            Fear is something we all have to deal with at some point or another. It can be fear about events in our daily life, such as losing our job, getting sick, getting into an accident or losing our loved ones. Or it can be fear about more intangible things, such as fear of certain unexplained experiences. When we were younger, many of us have suffered from fear after watching scary movies about Dracula, Freddy Krueger or poltergeists. Many of us have spent nights without sleep. Many of us have had horrible nightmares or strange dreams, and some of us might even have had weird, unexplainable experiences while we were awake.

            Fear can be our worse enemy. The best way to beat our fears is to call on God’s help. He is the Almighty, and under His wings we can take refuge. All we have to do is pray and call on the power of His name, and He will deliver us from our fears before we know it.

But still, as always, we must do our part. One successful way to protect ourselves from our fears is not to obsess about them. There are many unexplained things here on this earth. We do not need to look into all of them. If we knock, the door will be opened…but we must be careful where we are knocking. Let’s be careful about what we mess with. Some things can easily get out of our control. Let’s set boundaries for ourselves, so that we do not accidentally fall victim to what we are most afraid of. We should stay away from the dark side of life, in other words we should stay away from the occult. If we choose to stay in the light, we will minimize our chances of getting hurt physically or psychologically. Let’s not mess with the esoteric. Let’s let some mysteries remain mysteries. And let’s put our focus and our trust on God. Our Father in heaven loves us and wants to keep us safe under His umbrella of protection.

            We must trust our instincts. Every time we get a bad feeling about something we cannot explain, we should try to listen to it. There are many reasons why we might get a feeling about a particular thing. Not everything can be explained logically, but this does not mean that it is not real. If we become people who rely only on facts, then we will limit ourselves to the five senses, and that will not give us a complete picture. Quantum physics has demonstrated that nothing has been proven for sure and that everything is possible. Time after time, something scientists believed to be the absolute truth has been proven wrong. Now scientists know only one thing is for sure, and that is that nothing is for sure.[1] We cannot choose to ignore the fact that life is a mystery, and therefore we must always leave room for the benefit of the doubt even for those things we don’t want to believe in.

            Fear is something to be respected but not something to be intimidated by. Fear is something to be watchful for, but not something to obsess about. Feeling afraid can sometimes be a warning signal, to advise us not to go in a certain direction or to act in a certain manner. Our fears can be our best friends because they can warn us about areas in our lives we need to be careful about. Other times, fears are the products of our imaginations, and they must be controlled.

            One thing is essential and that is to not let ourselves be conquered or frozen by our fears. We need to have faith and trust that God always takes care of us. God is more powerful than anything, and He loves us and protects us. When we are afraid, we need to think about how God is our refugee and our fortress, and repeat that to ourselves. We who are sheltered under His shadow and are protected by His loving wings must cling to Him in our darkest moments. If we call upon Him, He will protect us. There need be no doubt in our hearts.

Wisdom to contemplate:

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ God will rescue you from the fowler's snare, from the destroying plague, will shelter you with pinions, spread wings that you may take refuge; God's faithfulness is a protecting shield. You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that roams in darkness, nor the plague that ravages at noon.

[1] Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Harper Collins, 2001).