Playful, happy dogs ran down the Arubian beach as my daughter sat building a sand castle with six year old Kayla. The dogs were closely followed by a man wearing a donation bag who occasionally stopped the dogs, asked them to sit and then offered treats in response. My daughter, being one of the greatest animal lovers on the planet, immediately gravitated towards them. Gravitated might not be the right word as it was more like a run but it had the same magnetic pull that would not release her from its grasp until she could get her hands on each homeless soul.
She knelt in the sand so Brownie could put her paws on Sam's shoulders and lick every inch of her face. I laughed as the girl who doesn't like to get wet was pushed over into a wave by the exuberant dog who couldn't get close enough to her. My daughter was covered in nail scratches, but she didn't care. At first, I thought she was bleeding from one of them but realized it was her hair dye running down her back since her hair had gotten wet.
Back where Kayla and her mom stood, a woman approached and chastised Kayla's mom for letting Sam get licked by the dogs, let alone even pet the unvaccinated creatures. The dogs were well trained by the man who rescued each from starvation and who patiently walked them up and down the beach all day long hoping for someone to adopt one. They were happy dogs, though ribs showed through their fur, wet from chasing balls into the ocean.
Kayla's mom simply said, "Do you see the woman standing five feet from Sam? That's her mom." And the matter dropped. You can live by fear or through love. When it comes to any animal, Sam doesn't just live through love; she lives through LOVE.
Dawna Markova, author of "I Will Not Live an Unlived Life", wrote about a similar story. When her son was five, they were in Venice in a town square filled with pigeons.
"He stood covered with gray and white pigeons enrobing his arms. My mother whispered in the dark hallways of my mind that they were filthy creatures. But he didn't know that. He kissed each one with tender lips. As I watched, they seemed to turn into doves. Actually, pigeons are kind of dove, but I didn't remember that until he smiled as if swathed in blessing, and kissed them. What is loved reveals its loveliness."
Here is a poem I found that will challenge you to truly consider whether you primarily live in love or fear...
LOVE Versus Fear by Sarah Nean Bruce
LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)
LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)
LOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)
LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)
LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)
LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)
LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)
LOVE GIVES (fear resists)
LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)
LOVE IS COMPASSIONATE (fear pities)
LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)
LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)
LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)
LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)
LOVE CREATES (fear negates)
LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)
LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)
LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)
LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)
LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)
LOVE DESIRES (fear Joneses)
LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is nervous)
LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)
LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)
LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)
LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)
LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)
LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)
LOVE WANTS TO PLAY (fear needs to control)
LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)
LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)
LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)
LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)
LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?