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Showing us the meaning of Unconditional Love and how to share it! (4.11.18)

Published 4/11/2018

As we move into the heart of Spring, we are seeing more and more conflicts between police and citizens that they have been charged to protect. It stands to reason that all police are not bad, just like all citizens are not bad, no matter what their complexion. Due to the advent of camera phones the internet is revealing more police acting badly towards its citizens. For example, the two Sacramento Police who shot to death 22 year old Stephon Clark in his grandparent’s backyard in March 2018 when they thought his cell phone was a gun. This young man had some prior incidents where he broke the law. The police at the time said he was attacking them, until an Independent Coroner was able to show all 20 bullets were in his back. In the past, I have even experienced D.W.B. (driving while black). Thank God I video recorded it which brought the incident to a quick end. I am starting to believe that camera phones could be a citizen’s best friend. I will share more of the experience later. All of these experiences highlight the need of the song that Dionne Warwick helped make famous (as well as others), “What the world needs now is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

That brings back memories of playing with my son’s pet bunny rabbit. I have told this story before, but I received many requests to tell it again. The week of April 17, 2002 was a very sad week in our house. A loved one passed away. He was close to a year old. He was both black and white and had a bunny tail. He was my four-year-old son’s bunny rabbit. I never dreamed how much love you can give a pet, or how much love one of God’s creatures can give you. “Fuzzy” was his first pet. When I was writing this article I was trying to figure out how I am going to deal with the anniversary of “Fuzzy’s” trip to the big bunny trail in the sky. My wife and I, and vet tried to help him. He died of cold and flu. I didn’t even know a rabbit could get the cold or flu. I just know how much we loved that rabbit and he seemed to love the whole family.

One of the big problems with human love is that it is often conditional. That is, “If you do what I want you to do or be what I want you to be, I will love you. If not, I will withdraw my love.” The love that comes from your pet is normally unconditional.

I have never given much thought about funerals for animals. I know it is done, and it is a good business. I have never attended one; accept for a gold fish or two. Of course those were watery graves. It is was all over with a flush. I apologize to any one that offends. It was our best at the time.

Fuzzy’s funeral was not a gold fish funeral. How could this little white bunny come in our life for a little over a year and affect us so much. It fell to me and my oldest son to prepare the body. We were able to secure a nice size shoe box. My youngest son who’s pet it was wanted to make the “casket” nice. Wrapping paper left over from Christmas, soft cotton inside, toys that Fuzzy played with had to go in as well.

We were instructed by the love one, Richard, our youngest son that we all needed to get dressed up for the funeral. This young man who hated suits and getting dressed, now all of sudden demands that everyone put on their best, suit, dress, shirts, ties, and shoes.

My daughter put a funeral program together, there was song, scripture, testimonials, and I gave a eulogy for this rabbit that left small round gifts all over the house when we were not looking. There were tears like we were hoping he left us money in his will.

After the service my oldest son picked up the shoe box casket, followed by the youngest son, (he was closet to the family of the rabbit I guess), my daughter, my wife, and myself began a slow processional to the back of the garage, where my oldest son and myself dug a suitable hole. I have been a pastor for over 30 years; this was the first time I had to dig the hole for the deceased myself. Another song was sung, the shoe box was place gently inside, and as the dirt was being shoveled on the box my daughter lost it. She let out a scream that would wake the dead, “No, NO, No, I can’t take it!!” and ran back in the house. Do you know how many funerals this girl has been too? Human relatives! She never responded that way in a funeral. This is for a rabbit!!

Then my wife walked fast away, tears running down her face! I don’t know if she was running to catch my daughter or if she was overcome as well. Next thing you know the boys, started taking off their ties, running to the house with the rest of the family. This thing had gotten real! I discovered myself at the grave site by myself. I Finished shoveling the dirt and put some big stones on top. Before it was over I was crying like somebody hit me in the face. This was the worst funeral I had ever attended. This rabbit had changed our life. Just by showing us unconditional love.

“Unconditional love means that I cannot always predict my reaction or guarantee my strength, but one thing is certain: I am committed to your growth and happiness. I will always accept you. I will always love you.” We are all creatures of need. We were born that way. Our needs aren’t excessive, but if they aren’t met, we hurt…or die. We need food, water, air, clothing and shelter. We need something worthwhile for which to live and above all, we need to love, and feel loved. And without giving and receiving love, we limp along in the shadows of life. We can become physically and mentally ill, or die before our time. Yes, the need to love and feel loved is indispensable! Sometimes the need for love comes from a pet.

A Noble Prize winner once said, “We have all been wired to love. Hate is abnormal. Love helps our brain work better.” Do your brain a favor, show love every chance you can!