The Little Red Bear

At first glance, one might look at this bear, and think it’s time to toss it out.

It’s tattered.

It’s damaged.

It’s messy and falling apart at the seams.

When I first saw it, I considered replacing it, if and when the time seemed right.

After all, my kids have loved many toys, but once they get to a certain point, I quietly place them in the trash.

And this toy, didn’t seem any different.

It’s not a novel character, or a family heirloom.

It didn’t seem to have a special story behind it.

He said he got it from the “play pen,” which, based on little bits of his story that he shares, sounds like he picked it out at the shelter when he arrived.

For the first few days, I grew to know this boy a little more and I watched this bear bring comfort at the end of each day.

Every night, he crawled into someone else’s bed, wearing someone else’s pajamas, surrounded by someone else’s family and toys, and he held it close.

About a week after his stay, I found out that he would be with us longer.

Since I learned that he really treasured this little toy, I decided it was time to get my needle and thread out.

As I started to sew, I began to see this bear through a new set of eyes.

This bear, to the untrained heart, could be viewed as messy, as work, and possibly even, someone else’s responsibility.

This bear, much like the children that walk through our door, may not have been cared for as well as they should have been, and unfortunately, sometimes it shows.

They are fragile, and often times, holding themselves together by what seems like a small thread.

But when we choose to slow down and pay attention to the details, we see more than just what meets the eye.

We see beauty and possibility.

We see a very special story that deserved to be honored.

That night our foster son was happy to see his toy all patched up and laying on his pillow. He squeezed it and shouted "yay!"

I tucked him into bed, and rubbed his back while he cried about missing his family.

Then I sat on the bedroom floor waiting for him to fall asleep, and watching him hold that little red bear so close.

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And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

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