There was a lot about Kim and J.P. he didn't get.... he was confused by their lack of romance. As a father, he was at times grateful for that missing intensity, but as a man who liked to surprise his wife with flowers, it baffled him. Maybe he was old-fashioned, but to him a couple meant a strong bond, with positive and negative charges constantly arcing between them. He'd never seen Kim and J.P. kiss, let alone argue.
I vow that from this day forward you shall not walk alone. My strength is your protection, my heart is your shelter, and my arms are your home. I shall serve you in all those ways that you require. I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care. Yours is the name I whisper at the close of each day and the eyes into which I smile each morning. I give you all that is mine to give. My heart and my soul I pledge to you. You are my Chosen One, you are my mate, and you are bound to me for eternity.
In our day, there are stresses and fractures of the human-animal bond, and some forces at work would sever it once and for all. They pull us in the wrong direction and away from the decent and honorable code that makes us care for creatures who are entirely at our mercy. Especially within the last two hundred years, we've come to apply an industrial mind-set to the use of animals, too often viewing them as if they were nothing but articles of commerce and the raw material of science, agriculture, and wildlife management. Here, as in other pursuits, human ingenuity has a way of outrunning human conscience, and some things we do only because we can--forgetting to ask whether we should.
Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a -- a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of country plays a part, but it's not merely love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients.Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all. And it's a recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings -- our school, team, city, state, our immediate society -- often ultimately delineated by our ethnic roots and borders... but not always.Indeed, these border lines are so fluid... And we do not pay allegiance as much as we resonate with a shared spirit.We all feel an undeniable bond with the land where we were born. And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond, often of a more complex nature. Both are forms of patriotism -- the first, involuntary, by birth, the second by choice.Neither is less worthy than the other.But one is earned.
To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.