Loving Into Wholeness


It has been just over a week now since Tune has come into our life.  If you had told me ten days ago that I would now be completely smitten with a nearly ten-year-old dog I would have been very surprised.  These are the things that can happen when you allow the Spirit to lead and open your heart to hidden treasure.  It feels especially significant to me that we first met her on the feast of Epiphany for she has been a great gift.  We were going to wait until after our big trip this summer to adopt a new dog, then we found Tune and were going to take her in temporarily, but now I can’t imagine anyone else getting the privilege of nurturing her during these winter days of her life.

Cathleen from Back Road Journey wrote a comment on my post last week about the Winter God that has really been stirring within me the last few days as I am present to the wonder of this new creature and the love she so freely offers.  Cathleen wrote: “Perhaps this is the season to consider what needs “fostering” in our lives, what part of our hearts and souls have been neglected or abused and now need the tender love and care that you are offering to your foster dog.”

Tune, which I have decided is short for Petunia, is just a sweet little love of a dog.  She wants nothing more than to be in our presence, preferably draped across our laps.  It breaks my heart when I think of the life she has spent without much personal attention, essentially used for what her body can offer as a breeder.  Then when she was too old to perform her function anymore, she was tossed aside.  She is very nervous and shy in new situations, but once she starts to trust, she becomes a playful, loving, and devoted companion.  She may live for a year or another five, but my deepest hope for her is that she can soak in all the love she can.  Perhaps we can help love her out of her fears and back into wholeness.  Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that I freely submit myself to the wisdom of other creatures and so have also been referring to her as Abbess Petunia.  Our Abbey needs an Abbess after all, and Tune models a life of rest, play, loving, and gratitude that is a great reminder for my sabbatical time.

It makes me think of the ways I have been loved into wholeness in my own life.  Meeting my husband over 14 years ago and being loved by him so completely and unconditionally went miles to help me heal from the messages of my alcoholic father.  I am able to become more fully myself in his loving gaze and I hope my love offers the same in return. 

To be cherished in this life is a gift beyond measure and one I would wish for every single living creature.  To love others in such a way that they know they are already whole and beautiful is a sacred thing, perhaps the only really important thing we do in this life. 

So back to Cathleen’s comment, as we nurture Tune with love and remind her of what a dog’s life should be, I am also aware of those places of my own life that have gone neglected for too long and need some loving attention again. Tune is calling me into a most tender love for her, and in the process I myself am becoming more whole as well.

What in your life needs to be fostered again?  Where do you need reminding of your incredible, beautiful wholeness?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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