Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Spiritual Meaning of Our Animal Friends

For some time recently I have been contemplating the relation between humans and animals.

Why do we humans have a deep need for and feel a special closeness to animals? I feel this somewhat. But others close to me feel this to a much greater degree. I want to understand this.

Animals are critical to the spiritual formation of our children.

How do we communicate with children age 2 to 4? Isn't it true that we communicate with them by picture and stories of animals? Think of books written for that age group. Ones you've no doubt read many times - if you have children. We use animals to teach them and nurture them into being human.

What do we teach? We teach friendship and communicate certain other truths.

Don't we consider ourselves blessed in some way/aren't we excited/ aren't we enchanted when we have a chance encounter with a deer? A bald eagle? Or even a rabbit? We are transported or interrupted. Our consciousness is altered. We go to another place.

And sometimes, these moments seem more special to us if we have children along. We are so excited that we want them to experience this as well.

These thoughts derive from an article in Parabola: The Search for Meaning Vol 31 No. 2 Issue Theme: Absence and Longing Summer 2006. The particular article is Loneliness and Presence by Thomas Berry, p 80.

(The photo is our new dog we received a couple of months ago from a rescue facility which is closing. Tweetie has very low self esteem. She is very scared of me.)


Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Animals are wonderful creatures. They can also become very enmeshed in a family. Even a hampster. My daughter (Rachael, 10) lost her hers ... a major tragedy for her. They are special.

Bobby Valentine

Steve said...

That reminds me that about ten years ago our lizard was in such bad shape that my wife and younger son (now a Lipscomb freshman) had to have it put to sleep. Tears were shed. I was amazed at their depth of feeling for it. That is more evidence for me of a special connection we have with them. I'm trying to understand it and derive meaning from it.

hermit greg said...

Tweetie's a handsome dog.

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