On my way into the house from taking Dusty out this morning, I noticed this striking caterpillar making its way across the pavement. I grabbed my phone to get a picture, even though I knew an image wouldn’t do it justice. I showed my wife and went to the internet to identify it. A small event in the overall day, but one that stimulated an intellectual curiosity and emotional appreciation.

My reaction reminded me of a recent discussion I had with my son, an Arlington Diocese seminarian, about the role of intellect and emotion in relation to love. It is common to hear that to truly love another is to will the good of that person and is not based on a feeling or emotion. This is sometimes true since we should be kind, generous, forgiving, etc., even if we don’t “feel” like it. However, emotion is an integral part of being human.

As a veterinarian, this is reinforced every day as I try to be rational, objective and detached, especially in surgery. Although it is satisfying to do a proficient job, the joy that comes from the positive outcomes, and the sadness that results from the negative ones is what keeps us grounded.