A few years ago I lost several important things all at once--a love, a home, a job that I liked. My health decreased. Even my laptop chose that moment to die. I returned home, broken. My parents received me back graciously. But this time there was also a furry animal living there. He didn't know about all of the things that were lost. He was just happy that I was there. He was happy to company with me during my convalescence. I would sit in a lawn chair in the sun in the backyard, reading children's books--the saltine crackers of the sorrowful--and Frodo would sit under my chair, as if his only job in the world that day was to be near me, to be part of what I was doing. That little dog was instrumental to my healing. I think pets can be an important part of our concept of home.
They demonstrate the loyalty, the unconditional love, that is essential to "home." This holiday season, as we see our loved ones, may they know that we are happy simply that they are, happy to see them, and that nothing else really matters. And let us not forget to extend this same grace to ourselves.