Teddy Bear Love

  Teddy Bears hold a special place in our lives. As children almost all of us cuddled one. We have all viewed a scene in a movie or commercial where mom or dad checks on their son or daughter before retiring or leaving on business quietly peeking through a partially opened bedroom door to witness their child cradling a bear while sound asleep; a plethora of other dolls and stuffed animals adorn the room but it’s the bear that receives the love.

  One astute mother advised her son to wake up when he thought his bear needed to use the restroom. He did and his bedwetting ceased.

 But it’s children of all ages who cherish the bear. Most is us have attended the carnivals that criss cross the country their arrival and transformation of parking lot or vacant field converted to the central theme of a giant Ferris wheel viewable for miles. Upon entering our senses are aroused to the confectionary delights of the cotton candy machine with blue and pink bee hive like strands of sticky fun wrapped around paper tubes, popcorn, corn dogs, hot dogs and really greasy heavily salted French fries; just the way we like them! As our evening progresses we walk past the fun house and dig deeper in our pockets for additional ride tickets for our party of young and old alike and eventually spy the guy toting the prize teddy bear won at the duck shooting, basketball net toss or dime toss on the greased crystal platter game. The venue could be state or county fair grounds or transients companies unloading, assembling and operating the rides driving tent spikes through dilapidated asphalt to the ground below in the parking lot of abandoned shopping malls; the stretched rope providing stability and shape to these huge canvas party tents and caverns.

  The one thing we will always remember though is that guy with the giant panda bear won for his sweetheart. He’s a real hero! And so is the bear.

  But what happens to these bears! Some are discarded. As a child I handed my panda bear to my mother while she was sewing and asked her to mend the deep gash in his leg. She ripped it from my hands and threw it away. On that day when I was six I experienced the death of my best friend and became a man.

  Other bears are kept forever cherished on a night stand, bookcase or strategically placed in the center of a perfectly made bed that one could flip a quarter on as the sheets are tucked so tight as to render trampoline firmness; the bed belonging to a daughter since departed to school, marriage, missing or deceased. The immaculate room a testimony to a space where time stood still the day or night the child did not return home.

  The bear represents a lonely theme of quiet parental heartbreak its cloth body absorbing the tears of a mother retreating to the room clutching the bear while staring out the window and balling her eyes out the bear pressed tightly against her mouth muffling her tormented emissions in a home of perfect floors, perfect walls and perfect loneliness.

  Other bears are not treated with such therapeutic reverence tossed onto the stack underneath the goodwill trailer late at night or next to the clothing bin behind the store itself. But these bears are not long for despair and are quickly pressed back into service as they are rehabilitated by the charity staff once inside the sorting backroom labeled with a price and displayed in the store and sold sometimes within minutes to a new family as a gift for their young son or daughter.

 Other bears never make it inside the store and are recovered on late Sunday nights by mommies and daddies in old station wagons rummaging through donations dropped after hours lined against the concrete exterior and flowing out of the blue metal boxes meant to secure valuables, electronics and clothing. The bear is dusted off and tossed into the back of their car and home, an offering to a child living in a vehicle grateful for a mommy and daddy making the rounds to feed and cloth her, she the reason for their existence for without her they may just have drifted apart a family no more, left to their own devices and eventually disgorged of what little possessions they retain.  But she a child of them and God requiring only their best as each day they give of their poverty their surplus expended long ago. Their very existence an act of faith, touched by God like we all; their reverence, meekness and intimacy of a personal relationship to perfect for us as we hide behind our leather wrapped steering wheels, designer concrete and linen suits.

  This recycled bear is a transporter of tears, hope and love now cradled by a hopeful little girl as she prays that her mommy or daddy find a job so they can go back home. A home unbeknownst to her cleaned out by professional crews a lifetime of memories swept, dragged and pushed to the curb awaiting the garbage truck their belongings crushed and commingled with those of their former neighbors in this once prominent community; an abandoned kitty cat the only witness to the destruction wrought by unholy motives of men elevating themselves prurient greed sexuality for the asexual.

 Across town at a local Hospice an attendant slips out of the room of a young girl and returns with the nurse who sits on the edge of the bed checks her vital signs, looks at her watch and pronounces her death. She slowly removes the teddy bear from her patients crossed arms and hands it to her father while whispering, “Jenny told me that she wanted you to have it.” The Father although intimidating in appearance replete with tattoos on both arms and small double lighting bolts on the side of his neck sobs openly the tears streaming down the length of his waterproof black leather vest his wife at the head of the bed quietly stroking the hair of Jenny and their son clinging to his father’s pant legs.

  A few blocks away in the maternity ward of the local hospital a beaming father enters the room of his wife who is cradling their newborn son. He places the roses, candy and teddy bear on the table adjacent to her bed, kisses his wife on her forehead tears of joy streaming down his face.

  Later on a Saturday evening in a meeting of Adult Children of Alcoholics a thirty something man squeezes a teddy bear while facing the circled group and describes how his father a prominent politician in San Diego was so enthralled with his political career that both he and his brother felt abandoned by their father; he now part of this home group to re-parent himself and rekindle his self esteem.

  In the wee hours of the next morning firemen breathing oxygen through face shields emerge from a home one holding live kittens in each hand and the other a Mother kitty in one hand and a semi charred teddy bear in the other. They trudge to the street where a brother and sister extend their hands underneath the perimeter tape to take possession of mama and her pride. Their daddy squeezes the bear and they retreat to their new home, their Ford Expedition where daddy strategically places the bear on the center of the dashboard, teddy an apparent stand in for St. Christopher.

  The Teddy Bear enhances our belief that someone will be there in our time of need, the fear of abandonment diminished at that sacred moment just before we drift of to sleep when we fluctuate between conscious and subconscious reality. Snuggling with a pet kitty cat, dog or teddy bear provides a quiet assurance that we are not alone in the dark. They say that if we think positive thoughts as we drift off to sleep we will program our subconscious mind to attain the goals most important to us.

  We love the common signs that our Lord and Maker places on our paths as evidence of his love for us. Dogs represent a form of unconditional love for a dog will love us no matter what and the inversion of the word “dog” is “God.” We seek Teddy Bears to hug and hold close as the one who bared himself to redeem and call us forth as  his children the omnipotent one our heavenly Father who redeemed us from the wages of sin and death through the sacrifice of his son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Let us shine forth and be Bearers of good news!

 Have a Beary nice and Happy Valentine’s Day

 Dr. Christopher and Tammy Campbell

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