A Love Like Lucy's
This is my commandment: Love each other the way I have loved you.
Some years ago, my sister gave me a garden plaque that reads, "May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am." It sits in our garden, with the hostas and other shade-loving plants growing around it. It peeks out at me when I walk by, reminding me of this simple...well...prayer.
When I first saw the plaque I laughed appreciatively at the joke. My sister understands me well. She knows how much I love my dog, Lucy, and she knew I would appreciate this acknowledgement of human fallibility contrasted with canine adoration.
But I have come to see it as more than a joke. It really is a prayer. One of the hardest things we are called us to do is to love each other, and all of God's creation, unconditionally. Of course I fall short of this calling; we all do. Lucy comes closer.
Anyone who has a dog knows what I mean. No matter what I have done -- forgotten her walk, reprimanded her harshly, accidentally stepped on a paw -- Lucy still adores me. She wags her tail, wiggles all over, leans against me with affection, as though I were beloved. A beloved member of God's creation, regardless of my faults.
Recently our church celebrated a blessing of the animals. This is a lovely way to recognize and cherish our pets. But it is also a time to notice the way they love us. And to realize that God has many ways of showing us how to love, even through a wagging tail.
Prayer: God, help me to practice unconditional love (or, help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am).