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My son’s little dog, Pepe, looks like a streamlined little racer, like a miniature whippet in white, small, delicate and funny.
He runs in a prance and sometimes I see him laughing. He growls and barks like a tough guy, but mostly he’s just afraid of his own shadow. But he is a delight—always happy to see me and ready to play. It makes me happy to see him, too. He runs up to me, whining and jumping. You would think that tail would break from wagging!
He’s never grumpy or critical. Hah! Dogs seem so much less complicated than humans.
I wonder if I would do well to emulate my dog’s simple, happy approach to life. Can I think of myself as happy to see everyone, always expecting their friendship and goodness? Really not a bad standard to live by, don’t you think?
We humans have so many preoccupations, so many things to do, places to be, responsibilities and texts and emails and phone calls and gotta do this and gotta do that…
When I get overwhelmed with all that human activity, I look at simple little Pepe, whose life is not complicated with all the “gotta do’s.” In silent wonder I muse about his small delicateness in my strong hands, how I protect him, feed him, play with him, take him for walks and let him run through the park. His life is literally in my hands. I wouldn’t dream of hurting him, and yet sometimes I sense his fear and distrust of humans.
In my philosophical mind, always searching for deeper truths and understanding, I see it as kind of similar to my relationship with God.
Pepe’s small size and fragility reminds me of my smallness in relationship to my Creator. I marvel at how we have been provided with all the things that exist in the world and in nature for our nurturing, education and development.
God has provided well for us. If God were like humans, I could imagine Him laughing while watching us, amazed at how we distrust and even reject His love. Of course I know that is only my simplistic projection of how my Creator is like me. But in the Baha’i teachings, Baha’u’llah plainly describes how God has prepared the world to care for us:
Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things. Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother’s womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee. Out of My loving-kindness, ‘neath the shade of My mercy I nurtured thee, and guarded thee by the essence of My grace and favor. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 32.
We want to understand God, and in our minds we put God into our image, see God acting as a human would, thinking and acting like us. We see Him as we would expect Him to be, and imagine how we would expect Him to think. This, the Baha’i teachings explain, is an impossibility. The Creator can never be comprehended by His creation. Baha’u’llah revealed many verses to describe how man’s comprehension is limited and can never encompass the Essence of the Creator:
O Children of the Divine and Invisible Essence! Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me. – Ibid., p. 19.
How, you may ask, can this possibly relate to my caring for my son’s little dog? You might say well, you can’t talk about your relationship with a dog and compare it to God’s creation. But everything we encounter in life helps us to learn about the spiritual realms and the mystery of God, if we let it. There is a famous Chinese proverb from Confucius: sān rén xíng , bì yǒu wǒ shī, which means “Three people are walking, one is my teacher.”
Maybe Confucius meant that we should be prepared to learn from everyone and everything.