Recently I was at a GreenFest in Portland and we interacted with a really awesome organization called DEAF DOGS of Oregon. They had their organizational ambassador named Picasso there showing off a few tricks.
I watched from afar how everyone loved this little fur ball. People of all walks of life would stop to pet him, to watch him do tricks, to just simply hug him or be hugged by him. Many didn’t care for the tricks he did, they just wanted to let this little creature know that their love extended to him despite his circumstance.
Ever since that day, I’ve had the image of Picasso rolling around in my mind. What makes us value Picasso so much? Why DID everyone love on him so willfully? Why did nobody care about his disability?
Why does this happen with an animal but is so hard to transfer over to humans?
I ask all these questions at a time that most of the country is NOT extending this type of love to each other. I am struggling with understanding the nature of our humanity, folks, and hence this blog.
Here are my thoughts:
I think we can love Picasso so easily because there is something God put inside of us that enables us to VALUE LIFE. When we see Picasso, we know that he breathes, feels and experiences being alive similar to how we do.
We can easily see past his disability, why? Because he’s a dog?
No. I believe we do because when we see Picasso, love is greater than any other distraction. It is greater than bitterness, fear, anger. We don’t have other emotions lurking in our thoughts pushing us to feel anything other than LOVE for him.
So, I propose the following crazy thought!!
If we could love Picasso—not for his “use factor” or for what he can or cannot give, but merely because he lives, can we successfully extend this type of love for our fellow country folk?
What I’m saying is that if I can look PAST what Picasso can give me and just love him because HE IS….can I challenge myself to do the same for some of my country folk who may have not voted as I did (preaching to myself here folks), had the same opinion as me or even to those that hurt me or make my life difficult (still preaching to myself here folks). Lol.
I’m just asking us to try to connect to that inner wisdom that says:
I don’t care if u can hear, walk, talk, or even if you AGREE with me. I don’t even care that you CAN HURT me because underneath the distractions that I call self defense or ego or pride….you live and for that I love you.
I know the part about people hurting us is hard. How do you love someone that hurts you. I think we all have experience doing this. I think we do it from afar…(haha...you know to survive) ....and we do it equipped with the perspective in mind that places a greater value on them as a: family member, friend, member of the human race.
Forgive this crazy analogy but here it goes. I’m one of those crazy people that tries to get really close to nature and animals when I travel. My family is South American so I get this opportunity more frequently than not when I travel back to visit with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a 6 foot iguana clawing into my arm or climbing up my back. Or, the few treasured moments I was close enough to a wild cat or Puma (in a zoo of course) and was allowed to feed them AT MY OWN RISK. Or the times when I ran into a wild dolphin or manatee while swimming in the ocean. I KNEW they could hurt me but I counted that risk as part and parcel of the experience to get close enough to TANGIBLY LOVE THEM. My need to hug (!!!) such majestic creatures was greater than the price of potential pain. Now, I’m not advocating for you to do the same with wild creatures. My point is this: there are times in the human experience that we can want to LOVE more than anything else.....so we mitigate the possible pain associated with taking the risk to love.
Funny story here: I remember being in the Amazon once and I kept feeding this beautiful pink bird and the little bastard got mad that the day I left I had no more food and he attacked me! I guess he got used to free food for 3 days; he must have thought I was being selfish the last day and got aggressive (I know, I’m anthropomorphizing…..let me). I have battle wounds BUT I tell u one thing that AS I RAN away: “I YELLED I DON’T CARE I STILL LOVE YOU BEAUTIFUL ALBEIT AGGRESSIVE BIRD!!”
What am I trying to say here? WHY can we do this for animals and not for people? God commanded us to love one another so why is it so hard? In my silly anecdotes we have uncovered ways where humans can love despite not getting anything back and even when pain may be the reward.
So, in closing I ask you: Can we try to love each other this recklessly? Can we bear battle wounds not from iguanas or crazy amazon jungle birds but from neighbors who voted for Trump (preaching to self here again), or for people who have customs and traditions completely different than yours?
I want to run away from my neighbor who’s politics or religion I completely disagree from saying what I said to this bird: “I don’t care, I love you...you hugely different from me human!”
I hope the images of me getting attacked by wildlife made you laugh and more importantly that the idea of BEING ABLE to love those we get nothing from and disagree with found a seed in your heart and mind. Our country is in a place and time where both sides of the political spectrum need it.
Rolling out w/some awesome love scriptures to inspire you on your new love journey, you Love Warrior, you!! And…..a shameless plug for Deaf Dogs of Oregon who inspired me to love people the way they do deaf dogs. http://www.deafdogsoforegon.org/
Romans 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
1 John 3:18 ESV
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 Peter 1:22 ESV
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart...
Luke 6:31 ESV
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
John 13:35 ESV
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”