Have you ever had a stuffed animal that you adored as a kid? I did…and I still have him. He’s a pig (my favourite animal) named Pink Baby. Don’t ask me why–I was like three when I named him. I hugged him so much that all the stuffing went from his neck to his bum, so his head flops everywhere.
Maybe it wasn’t a stuffed animal for you. Maybe it was a security blanket, a toy car, or a doll. Whatever it was, those memories warm our hearts, reminding us of days long ago (or maybe not that long ago) when we brought it everywhere or slept with it every night. Memories of pigtails and huge grins and death-squeezes of love. Happy giggles and somersaults and soggy PBJ sandwiches. Something makes us smile when we think of childhood memories and our personal teddy bears.
Love is what we all crave. There’s something in us that longs to be loved. In the book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (a short book that I suggest you read, despite it being for young kids), the old doll says, “If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.” This is so true. We all need to love and be loved…and if that can’t come from people, maybe a teddy bear works. This book is about a china doll rabbit who finds his way home after loving and being loved by countless people, as well as thrown away. There’s no point giving up on love, because love is one of those things that just keeps coming back. Love can hurt, yes, but there’s also great joy in it.
The Giver is another great book. It’s unique because where Jonas lives, love does not exist. The leaders have somehow managed to get rid of feelings and color and free will. They do this with good intention, because free will and feelings often hurt, but it makes you realize that yes, love and feelings hurt, and yes, free will can lead to hurt…but life is nothing without it. There’s pain in loving, but also happiness beyond measure. Why else do we continue to persevere through heartache? Why else do we continue to love, even when it hurts?
Love is our teddy bears. Love is our soggy crying hugs when a tragedy occurs. Love is holding hands. And love is God. Why else would he give up his own son to die? Why else would he sacrifice everything for a bunch of pathetic beings? It’s because he LOVES us.
So maybe today, go squeeze your personal teddy bear. Go hug your childhood friend. Thank God for creating messy love and for loving messy people. Some love doesn’t last forever, but some does. True love lasts.