A morning walk in the brisk chill of a sunny Carolina winter, and I see a caution sign planted in the manicured green along the pathway, “Pet waste spreads disease - fine 20-200 dollars! Please clean up after your pet and keep on leash!” To me this was great reflection of a sense of community responsibility. Yet another thought too sprang up in my mind as my morning walks usually do as I commune with nature. Why keep pets in the first place? Yes, it’s an opportunity to show our love. But why do it to an animal? Don't we have enough human beings needing love? Maybe many think they don't have the opportunity to do so and therefore show it to an animal. But then how many have thought deeply on this urge to show love and not have sought the many ways one could do that for human beings in need? Or is it that here too our selfishness gets the better of us unawares? Is it that we want to keep our investments of love under our control - albeit having the dog or cat or other with us, so that our investment is “protected”? When the cat or dog gets lost by any chance, do we feel sad and distraught because we have lost our investment? Why can't it be that this loss is not seen as a loss, that this investment in another is seen as something done for the good of a sentient being? Why can't we give more to society as a show of love? Is it that this same scenario of selfishness plays out even when we give out our benevolence in cash or kind to humanity; that this giving may turn out in a way that what I give maybe used in a wrong way? Many such excuses as ego-nudging go on unfettered.
I would say here that it is not our concern when we truly give with our heart behind the giving. Whatever the other does with what we give is for that person's Dharma to dictate. Our calling by God is to give and hope to make a difference in this world. We cannot make the world the ideal world that we want it to be, and in fact we may never even know if that ideal world we have in our mental picture should be the ideal world for everyone. Ultimately it is God that will enable us to find that ideal that we may not even know. Our job is to just keep giving and keep our trust in that Providential Source.