Nikie the retriever, and what Love can do

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

A short item in The London Times told of Nikie, a golden retriever helping to lift the spirits of the valiant workers still searching though the rubble in New York. "Dog's touch gives comfort at Ground Zero," the headline ran (Feb. 7).

The touch of love. I find this to be a tender example that however extreme the circumstances, there is a presence available to draw upon – Love with a capital "L," the Love that is God. The love that Nikie expresses as he visits each of the workers with a wag and a lick has its source in this Love.

I think of the creator in many ways in my meditations – as changeless Truth, for instance, or infinite Life – but most often I find myself turning to God as always-present Love. To draw on this constant resource has proved to be not just a way of coping, but a solid, practical help, ushering in change for the better. The Bible proclaims, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).

But if God is Love, why does He allow such tragedies to occur in the first place? I have no easy answer. But I feel that to get lost in the question, and possibly in bitterness or a rejection of God, is to turn away from the very thing that offers not only help at hand – strength and comfort – but also the possibility of overcoming.

Think of the self-sacrifice and almost super-human efforts of the relief workers called to the scene of a disaster. Their strength seems to come from a power not their own. Even on a more modest level, when friends and relatives rally round to help and comfort an individual in need, that same power is at work. It's often when we need the help of others that we realize just how much love there is about. And the source of that love is infinite; no matter how much we draw upon it, there's always more available. A favorite author of mine, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 494).

While I am convinced of the truth of that statement, there may be times when it doesn't feel true. That's when I feel the need to pray, to get in touch with God's love. Prayer brings me into contact with divine Love, just as kneeling to drink from a spring would bring me into contact with the water, and the results are just as tangible.

At a time of great personal tragedy – after a succession of three miscarriages – I began my friendship with Science and Health. I began to feel for the first time the presence of a love flowing from a source higher than personality – a love that was constant and unconditional. This awakening brought emotional healing and a lifetime of drawing on this divine Love for health, for physical and "inner" healing, for direction and support, and for all my needs. This love has warmed me, softened me, strengthened me, inspired me over many years, and I've seen outward circumstances improve as a result.

Drawing on the power of divine Love – the Love that is God – to help meet our own deep needs, or those of others, brings comfort, strength, and solutions. This is something of which I think Nikie, the retriever, must be instinctively aware.

Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow,

and thus lighting the

dark places of earth.

Mary Baker Eddy

(founder of the Monitor)

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