The Sweetness of Dogs (by Mary Oliver)
What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go
and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself
thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.
Some random thoughts about dogs, and love, life, God and mindfulness.
To begin with – when I take notice of it, I seem to learn so much about the unconditional love of God and how I want to learn to unconditionally love others through the unconditional love of my dog. There is a sweetness to the love of dogs. And she teaches me other spiritual lessons to.
My daughter sent me a cartoon that captivated me. It’s about why dogs are happier than humans. And when I saw the cartoon and reflected on it, it taught me a lot about myself, life and even God.
First, this teaches me about myself and learning to live in the present moment. So much of the time, so many thoughts fill my mind. They are either thoughts about the past that often have regret or thoughts of the future that are of worry and anxiety. And all of this robs me of the only reality there is – the present moment. And that’s what dogs are good at, isn’t it – being in the present moment without all the regrets and worries that I can have.
Second, this speaks to me about being “lost” in the wonder and goodness of relationships and really being present with the ones we love the most. To really be in the moment, undistracted and focused on the ones I love rather than distracted by my phone, my fears, or worries.
And third, this made me wonder about God or at least reflect on my relationship with God and God’s relationship with me. It says in Deut 32:10 that we are the “apple of God’s eye”. It’s an expression that Moses wrote around 1400 BC. It’s a phrase that refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others. Could it be that God cherishes me like my dog cherishes me and even more? Spiritual lessons I’m learning about God from this cartoon and my dog! Psalm 139:17-18 also says that God’s thoughts are turned to us constantly and out number the grains of sand on the seashores. What imagery! God is thinking about us in love all the time?! And I also want to live in that way toward God – turning my thoughts, and attention towards relationship with God and enjoying the relationship and being present to it. This is joy, this is contentment.
Thanks for the cartoon Nicole!