Archive for the ‘Comfort’ Tag

God, Dogs, and Unconditional Love   2 comments

From a blog I follow by David Anderson:

On the Monday following the terrorist rampage in Orlando, a dozen Golden Retrievers showed up in the Disney city. They were part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a ministry run by Lutheran Church Charities. The dogs had come to give the kind of love and comfort that come only from a furry friend.

There was a time when bringing in dogs to care for the emotional needs of the traumatized would have seemed odd. But now it’s common. K-9 Comfort Dogs came to the emotional rescue after the Boston Marathon bombing, after the Sandy Hook shootings. “We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” said Tim Hetzner, president of the charity. “Dogs show unconditional love.”

…. Our love comes with a lot of conditions, a lot of strings. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it just means we’re human. We know that mom or dad love us, but they love us more when we visit more often, stay longer and discipline the kids a little more. Same with husbands and wives. There’s a baseline love, but more can be earned in all the ways we know.

Yet the one thing every soul seeks is simply that unconditional love, where there is nothing to be earned. So when I read stories about Golden Retrievers being flown in to offer stringless love to grieving humans, I can’t tell whether that’s a beautiful thing (how we’ve finally understood the emotional and spiritual capacity of our pets) or whether we have outsourced our love needs to animals because we can’t find a way to do it ourselves.

[Read the full text here]

Posted June 20, 2016 by janathangrace in Reading

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Holiday Cheer Is Overrated   2 comments

Dec. 9 Is It Me or Christmas That’s Broken?

Did I seem morose in yesterday’s post?  I found it soothing.  When I trust God’s acceptance of me, mess and all, it gives me a sense of release, of lightness, even sometimes joy.  This evening Kimberly and I lit some scented candles, turned off the lights, and celebrated Christmas by meditating on the words so reflective of our experience:

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow

Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

I was suddenly struck by the appropriateness of our experience and feelings in this season.  It was to such as us that Jesus came.  He came to “preach the gospel to the poor.”  In December our whole society rises up to call the cheerful blessed.  I feel out of place.  It is the biggest holiday of the whole year, filled with happiness and laughter and peppy greetings to random strangers.  “Holiday” is a linguistic child of “Holy day,” but it is the prodigal son that hollowed out his father’s meaning and ended up with all the froth and little of the substance.  Berly and I listened to a popular Youtube rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight, Clear,” but it had elided this middle verse.  No one wants to hear about life’s crushing load at Christmas!  No one but Jesus.  That’s exactly what He came to hear… and to heal.  Although the healing hope of this chorus is the next life (according to verse 3). Today’s joy then, muted as it may be, does not flow from our present success and comfort for “in this world you will have tribulation,” a promise of Jesus we’d like to leave unclaimed under the tree.  The birth of Mary’s child rather opens the door for us into a world to come where all tears will be wiped away, and that is our hope, our future hope.  Relief for my pain does not come here and now, but comfort comes into my pain because Jesus sees it and is moved by it, and his heart bleeds with mine.  He does not need me to be cheerful, even on His birthday!  Tonight that verse clenched my heart till the tears came in realization of a loving Savior who sees and knows and embraces me in my misery.

Posted December 10, 2013 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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