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For the love of dog

Many people today have dogs as pets. Some of these people, particularly those under 30, keep dogs instead of having children. 

Dogs are renown for their unconditional love. They are almost always ecstatic to see their owners, and they are always happy to give attention when it is wanted.

Unconditional love has at least two dimensions. One dimension is how much someone cares about someone else compared to how much they care about themselves. Another dimension is how well someone knows someone else, and what they know about things in general. 

Dogs care much more about their owner than they do themselves in most cases. But is that love for the specific owner, or would they love any owner just as much? The universality of their love towards their owner, whoever that owner might be, proves the point. Dogs will love you even if you are an awful person. Dogs will love you even if you mistreat them. Dogs will love you the same no matter if you love them like God does or whether you only own them for what you get out of it (which, incidentally, is almost always the case, which is why people like the idea of having dogs instead of kids).

While the greatest blessings God has to give us are beyond what we have the ability to comprehend before receiving them, God gives us bread crumbs. Every object, relationship, and experience in creation echoes his attributes and, at a lower order, mirrors the higher order fulfillment of everything he is and has to give.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Imagine if a person cared about you as much as your dog does in spite of knowing your flaws. Imagine if they understood you were just using them for what they could do for you, and they loved you anyway. Imagine if a person cared about you as much as your dog does in spite of having options.

Dogs are wonderful. They are much better than most people. But the love of dogs is very limited, indeed, compared to the love of a righteous person. And the love of a righteous person is nothing compared with the love of God.

The love of God is so great that Nephi declared it "is the most desirable above all things." (1 Nephi 11:22) His angelic companion was left at a loss for words, saying merely: "Yea, and the most joyous to the soul." (1 Nephi 11:21)

We all feel the call to seek out more of God's love. It manifests as a hole inside of us; a deep yearning. It's a scary thing to honestly recognize that hole, because it comes with the admission that everyone and everything in your life so far--no matter how great--is inadequate and lacking. Nothing you have experienced can fill that need. So, most people run full speed away from that realization. They smother the signals that everything they have isn't enough with drugs (whether prescribed or otherwise), alcohol, recreation, abundant shallow relationships, or just general busyness. It doesn't work. It never does. It never will.

Yet, the solution does exist. It can only be found by finding and following God's word until you reach the tree of life and taste of its fruit. The good news is that there are markers on the path in the form of experiences and people that will demonstrate to you greater degrees of God's love than you have previously experienced. The light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

The bad news is that the path will require you to repeatedly leave behind something good for only the hope of something better. And very few people believe God enough to have the faith to do that enough times to obtain the end. Most will not even do it once, let alone hundreds or thousands of times, as it may require.

You have to repent of all your sins. You have to give all your heart, might, mind, and strength to God, as manifested in choosing what he would do at all times and in all places, and seeking to learn more about him through every opportunity that is available to you.

I have stood in the presence of Jesus Christ. I have heard and felt his approbation. I have seen his tears for me in the midst of the afflictions I walk through for his name's sake. There is nothing in this world that can compare to his love. It is most desirable above all things. It is the most joyous to the soul. There is nothing the world can inflict on you that isn't well worth his love. There is nothing in this world that is worth not feeling his love. 

Begin to feel more of God's love today by deciding to follow him at all times and in all places. Commit yourself to making the changes you know you must to draw nearer to him. It is worth it.