This is the newest member of the family. His name is Gusteaux (Gusto). He is a nine week old, cane corso (More info HERE), also known as an Italian Mastiff. He might be the best dog we have ever enjoyed. Time will tell. He has only been a part of the family for four days.
As I reflect upon my journey through life, it seems that there has always been a unique canine present and for that I am thankful. And so, as we start another leg of that journey, I find myself asking….what is it about dogs?
Joy is the first response that settles into my conscience. Every dog that has been a part of the family has brought great joy to our family. What is it about a dog that brings such joy? In part, I think it is because a dog does a great job of being a dog. They never try to be anything but who they are. Therefore, a dog embodies authenticity. I am convinced that when we dare to be authentic we experience and we embody great joy!
Also, a dog does a wonderful job of embodying unconditional love. It seems like dogs are always excited to see me. They do not seem to care what I am wearing or what I am doing…they just always want to be with me. Even if I am late in getting them their meal or I am grumpy about what went on at work or I am not considerate of their presence, they always seem to be excited to see me. This is different from most of my other relationships. Oh, others might talk about unconditional love, but I can sense when they are upset with me and I can tell you how I have let them down. I have learned, in most relationships there are conditions (rarely spoken, often implied) and things go well when I live up to those conditions.
This is interesting because the Bible talks about unconditional love. I am a fan of the concept of unconditional love….I am an advocate for unconditional love in a hurting world. Yet, when I look around and try to identify present day examples of this love….I do not see very many genuine examples.
I am also aware that I am not very good at this thing called unconditional love. Unfortunately, I also love conditionally. It is easier for me to love, when I have received love.
Maybe there is a critical formula which exists in the canine model. Maybe, I am uniquely called to be me. In being authentically me, maybe I can reflect the joy of who it is that God designed me to be. Out of that place of authentic certainty & security, I might discover the ability to love unconditionally. I might be able to embody the fact that I love because He has profoundly loved me. My prayer for you and for me….that we might live life with empowered authenticity. That we might love with unconditionality. That we might experience and give with great Gusteaux!