If you saw my previous post, you know we recently buried our seventeen-year-old dog, Maestro. He was my third dog. Didi was the family poodle before I was born and lived till I was age twelve. After her, Callie saw me through the rest of my schooling and into my marriage. Maestro lived with us five years before our girls were born. His passing has inspired much personal reflection.
In the last eight years or so, I have been through the self-evaluation/self-awareness ringer. I’ve learned more about myself than I ever cared to know. What I’ve come to realize is that I love love. What I mean is that I love to love and to be loved. Of course, who doesn’t love to be loved? But I REALLY love to be loved. I am in a constant battle with myself concerning all of my relationships. Do they love me as much as I love them? Is their love bank equally full? I have unknowingly pursued the answer to such questions my entire life. Some relationships have suffered and even ended from my tireless pursuit.
I give out love to my detriment, always hoping it is returned in equality. Many show me great love, but I usually doubt if its level is equal to mine. This is a foolish game, an endless source of frustration and unintentional hurt. Everyone expresses love differently. Just because it isn’t expressed in the same way as mine, doesn’t mean it is less than mine. It has taken me a long time to understand this.
After losing Maestro, I realized what the love of dogs has meant to me throughout my life. They returned love to me equally. I never had to question it, measure it, or even pursue it. It was just there, anytime I wanted or needed it. When this love went missing, the Lord dealt with my heart. He took all the gained wisdom of the last eight years and applied it directly to my wounds. He’s been convicting me for a while to choose Him more quickly, to direct my affection toward Him more fully, and to pour out my adoration on Him more earnestly.
What comes back to me will never be equal. No, His love far surpasses what I could offer. Christ’s love also outweighs anything His creation could give me. My husband, my daughters, my parents, my dearest friends, or my pets—none of them can love me as He loves me. Yes, He comforts me through human hugs and canine snuggles, but He alone is the source of pure and perfect love.
Over the course of this past year, every time I said goodbye to Maestro thinking we were losing him, I always thanked him. I thanked him for his faithful love, for never denying me of it, and for lavishing me with it. It is with a precious bittersweetness that I praise the Lord for this hole in my heart that Maestro leaves behind. It is a reminder of my love bank and how I should be spending it.
Where do you invest your love?