What would you say if I told you these bears are identical?
To anyone outside our family and friends, these bears are completely different. But take a closer look as my lovely assistant, all ready for bed last night, displays them a little closer to the camera.
The bear on the left was a shower gift for Maelynn before she was born. She has a heart on her belly that says "Princess" in pink. We decided to call her Princess bear, but Maelynn changed that to Bearbearbear. Yes, the word "bear" three times, real fast.
The bear on the right is Spare Bear. My Mom bought Spare Bear for a scary amount of money when we thought we'd lost Bearbearbear for sure. But it was nothing doing. She would have nothing but her Bearbearbear.
Bearbearbear isn't clean, she isn't pink, and she isn't even soft anymore. She has been in places no bear should have to go, and covered in things no bear should have to wear.
Oh wait... I neglected to tell you that Maelynn insists that Bearbearbear is a boy. Strange, I know.
So HE has been through quite the wringer. And honestly, it's a little embarrassing when we go somewhere like the church nursery and she presents this dilapidated, ready for the recycle bin stuffed animal as her precious jewel. There are times that bear stinks to high heaven. And for some reason, Maelynn has decided that Bearbearbear does NOT like his bath, so I have to sneak him into the washer, always with the burgundy towels from the back bathroom in hopes that he'll fade back to pink.
Spare Bear is beautiful, fluffy, and the bright light pink that Bearbearbear once was. He's soft, and even has that little sparkle in his fur that Bearbearbear once had.
Although Bearbearbear is stinky, limp, rough, and matted in spots, I'm proud of the way my daughter deals with the two bears.
This bear goes where Maelynn goes. He's been lost umpteen times. He's been stepped on, sat upon, snuggled, dropped, thrown, and pulled. There was even a night when we left him on campus at Baylor. One of the students found him and rescued him, bringing bearbearbear to his work study job in the very building where Ryan has therapy. Every time he's been lost, she's wailed like it's her first breakup. Her heart is visibly and audibly broken, especially that time we left him at Baylor.
That time, we had to wait until the next day to pick him up. I had to convince her that Bearbearbear decided to spend the night in the bear habitat on the Baylor campus with the "Sic 'Em Bears" as my kids call them.
Imagine my relief when she, albeit reluctantly, bought it.
You better believe I baked that college kid cookies.
I'm glad she's proud of her Bearbearbear. I'm also glad that she'll hug and love on and play with Spare Bear sometimes. But at bedtime, it's all about the original.
Even though I do wish that Spare Bear worked as we intended, because so many smart parents have a spare that works in case he gets lost, I love the fact that she won't ditch the old and faithful for the shiny and new.
Too often I ditch the old and faithful for something that looks better, faster, smarter, and easier. I'm tempted by the most comfortable instead of the most useful.
Too many times I'm blindsided by my own emotions and wind up knee-jerking my way down the wrong road, only to realize that if I'd stopped to think, to pray, to remember... then I'd have saved myself and my whole family a lot of trouble.
Too often the truths of scripture, even proved again and again in my life experiences
are neglected as I turn down the too-automatic road of panic, worry, doubt, and fear.
I know the right things to do. I know what God expects 99% of the time. But still, every day, I jump the tracks at least a few times.
But the best part?
When I do come back, I'm welcomed. I'm welcomed whole-heartedly when I return whole-heartedly. But I have to return. To heed the tap on the shoulder that asks if I've opened scripture today. Every time I'm renewed. Challenged. Comforted.
I've found my long, lost friend. My comfort, my peace, my refuge. But way more than a stuffed animal... this comfort transcends time, race, languages, even worlds.
Thanks truly be to God for being my guide, my stay, and forever unchanging.