Our dog doesn’t know she is deaf. Always been deaf. No one ever told her what being deaf – or hearing – is. Yet oddly, when out and about with her on the lead and wearing her “I am deaf” pink collar, we get a lot of “Oh isn’t she beautiful!” followed by “Oh poor thing!” from random strangers bending down to give her touchy-feely attention.
The pink collar was for two reasons – to soften her bruiser “Arnie Schwarzenegger” body-shape (people used to cross the road to avoid getting close), and because when younger and off the lead, she would often get further and further away – and we often yelled for help in others’ holding her collar while we caught-up. A pink collar AND the disability of deafness made her “safe”.
All Maisy knows is that the world loves her without exception.
And time-after-time I am struck by how we layer others in our world with our own world-view. Whereas …
Maisy is a dog. She poops in the garden. She licks her own bum. She feeds from a bowl on the floor. She devours the scent from other dogs’ bums as though exquisite perfume. She stares alarmingly because that is her way of connecting in the world she lives in. She has been neutered so we don’t have the hassle of a twice yearly “season”. She has to wait for one of us to open the door to let her out. And back in again. She is a dog whichever way you look at her. And she loves as we should Love.
Despite having to wait for one of us to feed her … all that waiting for a walk … keeping her off the sofa … not letting her on the beds … inviting her to not lick the grandchildren all day … to sit there … to move here … to come here … to go there …
Despite all of that AND having no awareness that she is deaf OR tri-colour OR EVEN a dog … Maisy Loves without condition. Nor does she insist that we love her the same way. Love can’t do that it seems. Love simply Loves. Like Maisy Loves. Our choice is how we “love”. And even when we choose differently – Maisy loves each of us the same.
It seems she only does love without condition.
And as we approach Christmas and the religious reason to love (along with the theology of the correct way to love) – I look at Maisy … I look at the bible … I look at the story of Jesus …
And I wonder why we make theological love conditional.
Because everywhere I look –
in the bible …
in the story of Jesus …
at Maisy …
at our grandchildren …
at our own children …
at my partner …
at my brothers and sisters …
at random strangers we meet each day …
LOVE is NOT conditional …
Love is NOT theologically reasoned and calculated …
Love is NOT this or that or the other …
Love IS …
Child abuse? Any abuse? That is conditional and that is not love. Controlling and demanding? Ditto. Discriminating and transactional? Ditto. Segregating and self-serving? Ditto.
We all KNOW what love is NOT.
Which is why this Christmas, my prayer is that we set Love free – we release Love – from our conditions.
(all the conditions we insist we don’t impose – all the conditions we then validate with correct theology)
Let God out the box?
How about we start with agreeing Love is WITHOUT condition … without four or seven different Greek words so we can debate the academia and correctness of “love” … ? That we put down all the theological slicing-and-dicing …. That we each free Love of our “love” of being biblically correct and righteously right … or “not love” – all that God loves us BUT we must love God for the deal to be done
Which carries all the baggage of all that we love in being biblically correct (currently).
I see Love everywhere.
Maisy knows that
And she can’t even read the bible.