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Dec 10, 2019

In Celebration of Our Best Friends

By Diane L. Grigg

The holiday season is a time of gathering, being with family and friends to wind down one year and gear up for the next. It is a period when we examine the past, revel in the present and anticipate the future. It is joyous for most, though many find it solemn. And yet, no matter what feelings we have during the holidays, we always have our best friends with us, reminding us that no matter what, we are not alone on this journey called life. It is with reverence that we celebrate these creatures who are family to us –sometimes our only family. Over time, our relationship deepens and grows. We fall in love with our pets again and again. They are there through sickness and health, in times of wealth and scarcity, ‘til death do us part. When they leave us, we mourn, hopefully making room in our hearts to bring another home to help us celebrate life.

There is so much tragedy in the world. The current level of violence seems insurmountable. People from all walks of life, cultures and economic situations need to come together not only during the holiday season but all year round. We should celebrate our limitlessness, be comfortable with who we are. Avoid confrontation. Be more relaxed around strangers, embracing our uniqueness as well as our similarities. Our animals imbue these qualities. They are a benefit to our emotional and physical health. They illuminate tolerance, compassion, value and honor. Animals see us as we are meant to be, lovable and compassionate souls here to heal and learn that love conquers all. That love never fails.

When animals become an integral part of our lives, our daily existence improves. Whether they are specifically trained to guide us through each day, alerting us to potential dangers, or just there to greet us at home with such joy we can hardly remember the events of an exhausting human day. Our relationship becomes mutually beneficial, for animals instinctively know that to give love means to get love. That’s all we really need. It is a wonderful life when animals are in our world. They are content because they trust us. They help us laugh more than we weep. They help us give more than we ask for. A heart only breaks when it is empty.

The companionship of our best friends is vital to our well-being. We would do well to gratefully receive their gifts. They come without ribbons and bows. They come without glitter and gold, yet they are more precious than anything. When life slows down and we sometimes feel unworthy, our animals are there to prompt us to remember that unworthiness is not the issue, love is. They do not judge or lose their temper. Animals don’t gossip, nor do they find joy in another’s misfortune. They give us the gift of tolerance, acceptance, and lessons of simplifying life and living in the moment. It is our expectations of what life should be that prevents us from seeing what is truly important.

Our world of late moves to a rhythm that makes it difficult to take in. As technology advances, we distance ourselves from the physicality of humanhood. Occasionally we see clarity above and beyond that which we perceive. When we catch the beat there is synchrony. Our precious animals do that for us. They are the quietest of melodies in the smallest of spaces. They guide us through with their energy and encourage us to move to our own rhythms, to accept what life has to offer in a clear and primal way devoid of expectation and disappointment. Humanity is one big family. So often we are judged by the way we look rather than by who we are. Animals look past our physical body and into the heart and soul. They are good listeners, daily improving the quality of our lives. They demonstrate the need to get along and respect based on understanding. There are no worries of what they have or do not have. There is no selfishness.

Our best friends are filled with peace because they know what they are all about. If we could learn this one thing, perhaps we would be more peaceful people. It is the invisible power of love. Life is more harmonious when animals are with us. They make us better people. We can love more and worry less. We can listen to life’s messages with an open mind and heart, with a passion to be our better selves. In the absence of our best friends, the world would be colorless and dim without hope for the future. We are all a colorful bouquet of possibilities. Animals see that in us and encourage us to bloom and grow. Now that is truly a reason to celebrate. Peace on earth, goodwill to all creatures.