the bitter

“I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me.”
Carol Burnett’s reflection over having to put her daughter in rehab
for a third time)


(blooming spring /Julie Cook / 2018)

I recently caught a snippet of a transcript based on an interview with Carol Burnett—
an interview she had given regarding her life and relationship with her late daughter.

Carol Burnett, now age 85, was always known for her hilarious comedic performances and
her signature pulling of her ear at the end of each performance.
She lived, however, away from the laughter and the hijinks, a tenuous and even painful life
as a mother.

Her daughter Carrie died from cancer in 2002.
She was only 38 years old.

But before the cancer, before there was a reconciliation between mother and daughter,
as a teen, Carrie suffered from a variety of addictions.

Carol paid for rehab after rehab yet it was the third time Carrie was sent to rehab that
Carol came to the hardest realization for any parent…
“I put her in a third rehab place, and oh my God, she hated me.
I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me.

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a20135840/carol-burnett-daughter-death/

That one sentence speaks volumes.

To love enough, to be hated.

Loving someone enough only to realize that that love will not be met immediately in like kind—
but rather offering an open and abiding love which is to be met with vehemence,
resentment and even hate…
a love that is the epitome of the bitter reality of unconditional love…
is the most wrenching pain, for any parent, grandparent or guardian imaginable.

Painful and heartbreaking love offered freely, yet scornfully rejected.

We, as parents and grandparents, and even guardians, learn early on that we often have to love
our children and our grandchildren enough to watch them leave us for whatever reason…
be it simply due to moving away, growing up and away, illness or to the tough love as
they must be sent away to seek healing and help…

Watching them go, for whatever reason, knowing the pain and sorrow it wrecks upon our
own hearts, yet knowing that the going is the best solution or need for them is one of
the hardest acts a parent/grandparent must ever experience.

Imagine…a loving Father surrendering His only son to a known negative fate.

If you knew the outcome would be horrific, could you do it?

If you knew he would be hated, hounded, rejected, tortured and eventually murdered—
all for the sake of “other children” who had long severed all ties with
this loving Father….could you do it?

A consciously painful action that is truly quite unimaginable to grasp…

I know that my own heart has hurt.
Deeply and devastatingly so.
And so if my heart has nearly been broken, what of God’s…
What of God’s breaking heart?

What of Mary who knew that same pain of loving yet having to let go unto a fate
much greater than most could ever imagine or conceive?

And yet we will always choose love…
Love that is not met in like kind.

Because it is what love does.

Love, as the bitter taste of saline silently rolls down
our cheeks.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that
is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

living in before

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there,
wondering, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Edgar Allan Poe

“Some dreams are best not to wake up from.”
Hiroo Onoda


(before the beaver, there was a tree / on the shores of Mackinac Island, Lake Huorn /
Julie Cook / 2017)

Following the official unconditional surrender offered by the
Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu,
on behalf of the nation of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri…
a ceremony presided over by General Douglas MacArthur,
Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific…
life for a handful of soldiers remained unchanged…
their lives, duty and existence continued on as it had before the surrender.

For despite the war having been officially declared over, there remained a smattering
of Japanese soldiers hunkered down and holding on to various small
South Pacific islands…
soldiers, cut off from commanding units and or communication, all unaware
that their nation had surrendered let alone that the war was now
indeed officially over.

Hiroo Onoda was one such soldier.

Onoda had been trained as an intelligence officer…
specifically trained to gather intelligence in order to carry out and conduct
a guerrilla war against the enemy.
He, and a unit of men underneath his command, had been taken to Lubang Island
in the Philippines with direct orders.

On December 26th, 1944, Onoda was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines.
His orders from his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were simple:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand.
It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens,
we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier,
you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts.
If that’s the case, live on coconuts!
Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

Daven Hiskey
Feb 9, 2010
‘Today I Found Out’

Following the end of the war Onoda fought on for another 29 years …

Onoda had refused to believe the “propaganda” in the way of dropped leaflets,
villagers pleas or former fellow Japanese soldiers sent to tell Onoda the truth.
He refused to believe any of it but rather was convinced it was all a ploy
by the enemy to take control of the island.

Until 1975 when his former commanding officer,
now an old man working at a bookstore in Japan,
was brought to the island to convince Onoda of the truth.

Reluctantly, yet ever the solider, on March 10, 1975 at the age of 52 an emaciated
Hiroo Onoda put on his 30 plus year old dress uniform and marched
from his jungle hideout to present then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos
his samurai sword.

Over those 30 years Onoda’s small band of fellow soldiers had either
eventually surrendered or died…
but Onoda remained a loyal guerrilla fighter making life miserable for the local
islanders. The islanders did their best to convince Onoda that Japan had
surrendered and that the war was over. During the 30 years Onoda fought his single
war, 30 villagers were killed and 100’s of others were wounded by this
lone guerrilla fighter

The story in itself is fascinating as well as sad.

Yet Onoda’s story is not just a story of survival or of disbelief,
or of skewed conviction but rather his is a tale about living life
in the before verses the after.

There was a single event that had marked the end of the war…
However Onoda had not been privy to that event.
He had not witnessed the surrender.
He knew his Nation’s determination.
He did not actually hear with his own ears the words spoken by his leaders.
He had been given a single command, and until he heard a reversal command
from his commanding officer, he would do his duty and serve his nation to his
utmost ability.

Rarely is such conviction found in men.

I thought of this story yesterday following the news I received regarding
the death of my aunt. Whereas she had been sick and even worsening,
the death from cardiac arrest came suddenly and unexpectedly yet in hindsight,
most likely blessedly.

Had I not answered my phone yesterday morning….
in my small narrow world, my aunt would still be alive.
She would be living on in my perceived reality.

For had I not heard the word, had I not been informed of the factual event
I would have gone on as before…knowing she was sick, fighting cancer, hanging on…
but not having died….not just yet.

The life of living before or the life of living after.

Before is usually what we know, what we’ve come to expect and what we rest in.
After equates to new, different, unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

In all of this I think of Thomas, the doubter.
The one disciple who had not been with the others when a risen Jesus
had manifest himself to their broken hearts.

And as Thomas happened to be away from the group, still broken hearted,
still wounded of spirit, still grieving…
he refused to believe the fantastical and or miraculous offered by his friends.

“Not until I see with my own eyes, put my hands in his wounds…I will not believe.”

Oh how we are all so convinced by the acknowledgement of our senses.
Convicted by sense.

For Onoda, the war had actually been over for those 30 years he lived in a
remote jungle fighting a non-existent war.

For my aunt, she died at 12:40 yesterday afternoon had I or had I not
answered the phone.

Jesus rose with or without Thomas having been present to see, touch, hear, feel…..

But because Jesus knew that we would all be so much like Thomas—needing
to be convinced, He offered Thomas, who continues offering each of us
the acknowledgement….
“my Lord, my God….”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them,
“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger
in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.
The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said,
“Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here, and see my hands;
and put out your hand, and place it in my side;
do not be faithless, but believing.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him,
“Have you believed because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

John 20:24-29

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2541104/Japanese-soldier-Hiroo-Onoda-refused-surrender-WWII-spent-29-years-jungle-died-aged-91.html

A Maundy Thursday example of love

“Preach the Gospel at all times.
When necessary, use words.”

― Francis of Assisi


(Mother Teresa’s bare feet)

I’ve used this image of Mother Teresa’s feet before in a previous post—
it was a post for a previous Easter that touched not only on the notion
of Jesus’ example of the washing of feet, but it explored our obsession with health,
wealth and all things fit and beautiful.

Like hands, feet are a good indicator of the type of life one has lived.

Rough, calloused and gnarly…
or
smooth, soft and pampered…

I tend to like the first notion…as in rough, calloused and gnarly being signs of
at best, a life really lived to the fullest….
or
at the least, lived to the best of ones abilities as
things had perhaps never been easy nor comfortable.

I find there is more character to be found in the rougher, harder, calloused side to living.

Following that evening meal of so long ago, a chain of events had been set in motion
and there was no turning back…
hope no longer remained in avoiding the inevitable.
I imagine everyone in the room that quiet night had a sense that things were to be
different very soon but as to exactly how, only one knew for sure.

The mood was somber…and not just because it had been a meal intended to
commemorate and reflect upon the struggles of a people from a previous time,
but rather because the master of ceremonies
himself was obviously melancholy as his thoughts were far removed.

Just as I know other types of jobs and services stress this same sort of approach,
in education, teachers are constantly reminded of the importance of leading by example.

Don’t just tell it or say it….
Do it and show it!!!!!
This so others may see.
Visual and tactile learning create a most lasting impression.

So Jesus set out that evening to do that very thing…
one more time…
to lead by example.

The point wasn’t just to wash feet.
Feet, as important as they are, are considered pretty lowly.
They aren’t the prettiest things to look at what with their bunions, hammer toes,
ingrown toe nails and rough cracked skin…
they can be oddly shaped, they get dirty quickly,
they usually stay covered up…for a reason,
and they are not the first things we prefer to look at,
plus they can smell.
Not good combinations.

So dealing with people and their feet has always been looked at,
other than from a podiatrist’s point of view, as something somewhat subservient….
especially if the feet are rough looking, with dirty cracked and broken nails…
Not the first thing most folks want to caress and love on…unless they’re a bit odd.

So naturally when Jesus set about wanting to wash everyones feet, he was quickly and
awkwardly rebuffed.
It was embarrassing to have the Master wash the dirty, dusty, dry feet of the followers.
Think of a General wanting to do such for a private…
As that’s exactly what it was like.
Unheard of….

But the washing wasn’t the lesson.

It was the leading by example.

The doing of and the action of that which would be otherwise considered lowly and less than,
being done to another…
As the recipient of such, that of the the washed,
would be thought to be more highly than the washer….

It was the notion of serving with the serving being of such a lowly but very respectful
and loving manner…that that was the key.
Doing something so lowly but doing it in pure unselfish care and love…

Mother Teresa’s feet are examples of a person who worked long and hard all her life—
her feet do not lie.
She toiled on those feet her entire life…always for others.

Being with Dad’s caregivers day in and day out, assisting as they had to turn dad from
side to side as I had to hold him up on his side towards me just so they
could wipe his bottom, cleaning him after he had soiled himself….

I marveled at the care and thoroughness in which one caregiver in particular
went about her task.

I don’t think I could have done or do what she did and does.
Taking care of the most basic needs of a human—
feeding and then cleaning…much as one does for a baby.

Baby’s are cute.

Old cancer ridden bodies that smell and are wasting are not.

As the days passed, physically moving dad was difficult as he winced and cried in pain…
but the cleaning still needed to be done…
And it was done with dignity, compassion…as

that is the rough, calloused, gnarly example of what love is all about…

“Love one another as I have first loved you…..”

And with the best way always being by example…..

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas,
the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,
and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,
drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied,
“not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet;
their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said
not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should
wash one another’s feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,
nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Matthew 13:2-17

conkers any one?

The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
Ezekiel 31:8

DSCN1124
(a horse chestnut tree with ripening “conkers” outside of Ross Castle, County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’”
Exodus 14:13-14

The ancient texts of an ancient time long gone, yellowed, dusty and worn, tells its readers of the promises of a mighty God to His people.
There is an ad infinitum quality and authority to these venerable Words..
As in these Words have been and always will be offered as they are.

They are words of Promises made, never broken.
The story is the same…
Promises made, never broken, on and on…
Over and over these promises are proclaimed…
Made to a people who, time and time again, believe for a short time and just as quickly apparently “un” believe.

The inevitable question in the mind of anyone reading these words and these tales is…
Why?
Why does or would this mighty God continue promising and delivering over and over again
to a people who briefly believe and just as quickly stop believing?

This casual observer or reader must wonder about this whole sort of situation,
and at first thought it probably seems senseless, almost stupid.
Dare we say, pitiful, sad, pathetic…

Why should a Being, a deity identified as the One true God, continue over and over
offering Himself, His concern, His interaction, His interjection, His promises to a people who seem ungrateful, uncaring and often unaccepting…

When it dawns on our casual reader and peruser of this particular and peculiar tome…
The single word unconditional enters the mind…
As in no conditions…
As in an absolute…
As in spoken with authority…
As in there are no boundaries or limits….
As in it is ever reaching and ever lasting…

It is, to the observer, especially a modern day observer who is accustomed to the broken promises and empty words lavished upon the masses by governmental leaders, corporate giants, and the average individual to individual as…well in a word…unbelievable.

At first our observer scoffs at such.
Shrugging off this unending and seemingly eternal Promise business as sheer rubbish.
So difficult to wrap one’s thoughts and comprehension around…
Yet as he continues reading and seeing the same sort of pattern, throughout each component of each story, something of the realness and magnitude of truth begins to nag at his mind and his heart.

There was a bond…
then a promise
then a broken heart….
A promise
A bond
A broken heart…

and so the story goes….

The Promise continues, never stopping, never being broken.
Yet the heart continues being broken, daily

Odd that….

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20

Perfect Love

“As people who have hearts that long for perfect love, we have to forgive one another for not being able to give or receive that perfect love in our everyday lives.
Henri J. M. Nouwen

So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

1 John 4:16

DSC00357

DSC00358
(White shelf fungus / Troup Co, GA / Julie Cook / 2015)

We spend a lifetime in search of it. . .
We expect it from parents
We demand it from siblings
We seek it from friends
We look for it in a spouse
We hope for it from various organizations
We yearn for it in our jobs
We assume it’ll be in our
churches
pastors
priests
We want it in our
physicians
healthcare providers
teachers
students
Our pets seem to come the closest. . .

We rationalize that we certainly give this “perfect love”. . .
so therefore. . .
Why don’t others give it back to us?

The end result of this lifetime spent digging, demanding, expecting and searching, all for this elusive prize, is. . .
frustration
resentment
heartbreak
anger
bitterness
and emptiness. . .

and yet. . .
It waits, quietly and patiently—waiting to fill our hearts with an unquenchable, yet satiating, one and only true Perfect Love. . .

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

Snoopy , a gift of thirteen years in a young girl’s heart

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Anatole France

DSCN3143
(yours truly at the ripe ol age of 7, cica 1966, with Snoopy on Christmas morning)

Have you ever loved something so much, so very much, that you thought a part of you would disappear completely and forever when it was gone? Even wondering if you could ever carry on without it?

Have you ever held something warm and soft close, so close, that you could bury your face deep into its fur whispering your deepest secrets and sorrows– only to find soothing comfort and solace in the rhythmic cadence of a tender heart beat, the soft vibrations of a contented purr and of its gentle breathing?

Have you ever been afraid of the dark, alone at night, as a storm rages out the window, when suddenly there is the presence of another, now close and comforting? One that climbs up and under the covers, laying its head on the pillow next to your own. A presence providing strength. A gentle sound of breathing from another, offering the courage of two verses you as one?

DSCN3144
(the two inseparable friends one 12, the other 5)

Were you ever a young child who was fortunate enough to have a best friend?
One who loved you unconditionally?
One who was always around whether you were ready to play or not?
One who ventured forth with you into the adventures of misadventure only to be forced to retreat to the confines of the prison of ones room during the dreaded period of punishment?

Did you ever have a broken heart?
Only to pour that brokeness out to the small mass you held in your arms knowing somehow, someway it new exactly what was wrong and was there to help fix it?
As it listened to you, watching you intently, allowing itself to be held tight, almost too tightly without moving or wiggling free— all of this while the warm tears, your tears, fell on its back—just being there, soft, silent, brave and strong–simply there?

Did you ever find that after the two of you had grown up together, you were now the one who had to go away for long stretches at a time—only to return to a now slower older friend who still managed to summon the excited strength to be near you upon your return?
Did you notice how frail and grey it had become.
The all familiar and comforting breathing now labored, slower? What did the Vet say, cancer?
Yet the eyes, those eyes, that had watched you grow from 7 to 21, still focused on you, only on you as if you were the only thing that mattered?
Those eyes still deep and wanting nothing more than only you and your touch, your time?

DSCN3142
(a much younger Dad with a contented friend in a regular perch)

Did you ever get the call from a parent, while away at college, with the news, the very very hard sad news that this best friend, the one who had been sickly as of late, the one who had fought a long hard fight, had heroically slipped away that morning to a different dimension that was suddenly different from the one in which you were standing?

Did you find that upon your return home, to the place that now seemed hauntingly empty and silent, that is was harder and more difficult than ever imagined? Shadows of what once was, now playing with your imagination. Was that movement out of the corner of your eye?
Was that him?
There is an oddly familiar rustling sound over by the closet, what was that?
You lay down, now alone, on the bed that was once shared?
Such a heavy loneliness.

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(cookie at 21 and Snoopy at 13–1980)

Can a young heart ever heal when that best friend, that constant presence is no more? Can an older heart heal when the best friend of a different time slips away?
Swearing never to have any other.
Never another.
There can never be another.
I can’t.
It is too hard, too painful, too taxing.
The nothingness, that is now something which no one else can fill, it hurts terribly.
The empty void.
An aching heart.
It is simply too much.
The color of life now oddly black and white.
There is no comfort, for comfort itself is now gone.

Yet the heart is deep, deeper than logic can explain.
Love is as amazing as it is vast.
Love transcends time as well as the depths of sorrow.
Healing begins, slowly.
The love which transcends the sorrow now settles in as a gentle feeling of timeless comfort.
The love that was soft and warm, constant and pure, moves deeper. It may no longer be at the ready touch, but it is there, for all of your life yet to be.
It is now, he is now– he is forever and for always.
The tangible him is no more, but the transcended him is now forever–
forever in the recesses of a vast and deep heart–your heart, the same place he’s always been.
Still loving, always you.

Joie de Vivre

In France we have a saying, ‘Joie de vivre,’ which actually doesn’t exist in the English language. It means looking at your life as something that is to be taken with great pleasure and enjoy it.
Mireille Guiliano

One is born to be wild. . .

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One is born to be babied. . .

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The grand dog is born to adore. . .

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The weather here has been the pits for a week now. Lots and lots of rain, fog, mist, grey and very warm, unseasonably hot, temperatures. Certainly far from a Christmas spirit sort of weather. As I see the map for this large country of ours, I see that much of this country is in the midsts of some sort of less than ideal weather. Snow, ice, rain, tremendous cold, muggy, tropical, windy—it all seems to be playing out at once.

In order to add a bit of a diversion, a bright spot as it were to some less than bright days, my thoughts turned to that which makes me happy, as I am certain, it, or rather they, make you happy as well. Who is that you ask? None other than our four legged friends whose sole / soul purpose in life seems to be laid back, full of joy, loving, happy, content, mischievous, playful—you name it, if it is on the positive side and happy, then it is them. And luckily for us, they oddly want to be a part of our less than joyful worlds.

Those of you who have pets most likely already know this, pets, as well as most animals in general, seem to possess that true joie de vivre—a true joy to life. They don’t seem to fret and wring their hands as we do, nor do they walk around with little black clouds over their heads. . . Well of course not Julie are you crazy, you argue. Animals don’t have the responsibilities, the demands, the worries such as we do. Well you’re right, our pets are free from much of what pulls us away from them.

They do possess, however something I wish more of us people possessed. . . and that is the unconditional love–which they, our pets, always extend to us.

They are the happy ones who greet us after a long day—other family members, not always so much. They are the ones who love us just after we throw up, are delirious with fever, have a broken or mended _________ (fill in the blank). They want to help with the new baby, the new couch, the new drapes, the new table, the new shoes, etc. They are the first ones to come offer comfort and console us just after the break up, the pink slip, the F, the ticket, the received new orders, the wreck, the death, the sorrow, the divorce, the remarriage, the first marriage, the fight, the argument, the slammed doors, the late nights, the lonely nights, the all nighters, the move, the loss. . .

They don’t care how our hair looks, our clothes look, our bank statement looks, our house / apartment looks. They don’t tell us we look too old, too tired, too sick, too ugly, too fat, too skinny. . . They don’t think the new tattoo was a stupid idea, nor the 5th piercing– they don’t question our judgement, our morals, (but maybe someone should), our intelligence, our religion, our friends. . .

They represent comfort, concern, support and hope. It is a proven fact that time spent with them helps to lower elevated blood pressure, deflate stress levels, and increase most energy levels. They are utilized in nursing homes, for shut-ins, for terminally ill patients, for very sick children, for those who have lost vision, hearing, limbs, mobility, for those who have been abused, molested, who suffer PTSD. They search for victims of earthquakes, natural disasters and man made disasters. They help search for those who are lost, for those with dementia for those with Alzheimer’s, for those who have runaway. . . the list goes on and on.

They may make mistakes, a mess, a big mess, a really big mess, a hole, a tear, a chewed up this or that, something swallowed that is never intended to be ingested—they may get wet, muddy, sticky, tangled—they may even draw blood or cause an occasional trip—they may get fleas, ticks, mange, skunked, gas, snake bit—they may fall in a hole, a well, a lake, a pond, a creek, a pit—they may get stuck up a tree, on the roof, in a car, in a box, in the gutter, in the toilet, in the closet, in the basement, in the attic—in many regards they are like small children–in many regards they are our children.

In many regards, there is much to be learned from them. And if anyone ever wants you to be happy, it is them, but it’s ok if you’re not, they’ll love you just the same.

Here is to all of our pets, the animals in our lives—those past and present and those yet to be—For me that is currently Peaches, Percy and the grand-dog, Alice.
An unconditional gift of love and acceptance.