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Recently my son graduated from university, returned to live at home and informed me he wanted to have a dog.
Strongly opposed, I didn’t want this added responsibility–and even less so when he told me he would get a Chihuahua. I’ve always loved animals, but I confess that I do not love noisy, barking little dogs. My expectation? That I would hate this dog and be most unhappy having to look after it from time to time.
Long story short: “Pepe” is cute and irresistible, even for me. He’s frisky, very happy and fun to watch, but his vulnerability and delicacy strike me most. Holding his tiny little body in my lap–he loves being petted and cuddled—makes me ponder my relative size and strength, and consider how easily this little animal could be hurt by just about anything.
Pepe has re-awakened my lifelong fascination with the love of animals and their love for us. As we know, millions of people enrich their lives by showering love onto their pets. These pets, in turn, give us their devotion and never stop loving us. Parents, too, shower their love on their children in spite of the problems and difficulties that arise in life—and despite the fact that they want to move back in with us after college. We cannot ever stop loving our children.
This follows the model which reflects how the Creator showers His love upon us.
Each day the sun shines down on the whole earth—what a remarkable example of unconditional love. The sun’s light and warmth, without which we would all die, never chooses to shine only on one group of people. It shines on all alike, indiscriminatingly warming and providing light for all, irrespective of our good or bad qualities; nor of wealth, education, race, religion, good actions or harmful ones.
As I considered tiny little Pepe in my lap, and my size in comparison to his, and the awesome size of the universe, I realized something else. What power created the billions of galaxies? Scientists now estimate that 170 billion galaxies exist in the observable universe. One galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 500 thousand million stars–only ONE galaxy out of the 170 billion! These numbers stagger the human imagination, but to think that God created all of this goes far, far beyond my comprehension.
We bow our heads in humility before the awesome majesty of the divine Creator, who out of His infinite love has created all humanity from the same stock; exalted the gemlike reality of man; honored it with intellect and wisdom, nobility and immortality; and conferred upon man the “unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him,” a capacity that “must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation. – The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, p. 5.
So as I hold tiny little Pepe in my lap and gently pet him and consider how delicate and fragile he is, I think again of how small I am in all of this creation.
I give the love I shower on this little dog unconditionally. I have unconditional love for my sons–but we don’t measure love. My love and caring for my sons has no bounds. I would love them no matter what.
God’s creation of the universe models love for all of us. The Creator has no need of us, yet lovingly brought all into being and unceasingly provides us with the sun’s light and warmth. The rain too falls freely, nurturing our needs, as with the air, the earth and the rest of creation. The purpose of our creation and creation itself all stem from God’s love.
So I ponder these things, my picayune size in comparison to the universe, my need for love to light and warm my heart, my desire to give love to my children and to other beings, and my real purpose in life, as described in the Baha’i writings:
Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation… the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 27.