As I sat in the bed, listening to story time, I held on to our son’s “Mr. Bear.” Mr. Bear is a very well loved stuffed animal…a bear to be exact. (If you couldn’t guess…he’s not like the big guy named “tiny.”) His name is very much unoriginal but there is nothing else unoriginal about him. He’s our son’s favorite toy and goes pretty much anywhere we would allow him to. His nose was bitten off years ago and has been sewn and re-sewn many times. The stuff and fluff in him is just about gone and his fur is matted from all of the cuddles, chewings, washing machine rides and occasional nights spent outside. He’s not pretty but he’s pretty special to our son and to our family.
It has been asked and mentioned numerous times that he should be replaced. That a new Mr. Bear should take his place. One that still has his stuffings, nose, and soft, clean appeal. However, let’s face it, that’s not an option! Mr. Bear simply can not be replaced! There has been too much poured into the little fella that it’s become priceless.
So many times I see people who want to do the exact same thing with so many aspects of their life. They want to trash the old and used. The things that no longer have the same appeal that it had when it was new. Things that are broken and need mending but we just don’t want to take the time to fix it or find someone who can fix it for us. Our planet has become a waste land.
Everything from possessions, jobs, relationships, faith and homes. There are so many people who want to just throw away things because it’s broken or it’s missing a piece. That get bored and want the excitement of a new job or a new house. Who don’t want to age and want to keep their youthful appearance. Who aren’t getting the results they want and so they seek out new faiths and higher powers to explore and “test out.” Who no longer feel the excitement they once did in a relationship and so they want to check out and dream of greener pastures. No one wants to fix anything anymore or to see the beauty in the worn out and weathered.
I was made fun of for a pair of shoes I had held on to for about 13 years because they were so worn out that I had literally worn holes in the soles. They were my favorite pair though and they fit perfectly! So, instead of finding a cobbler and having them repaired, I was told I could find another pair just like them and I believed it. Ten years later, I have yet to find a pair like them.
Now, there are times when scrapping something really is the only option. The home that is not repairable. The things that are so outdated that there is no way to possibly salvage it. The job that is destroying your family and yourself and will only get worse or remain the same. The relationship in which neither one of you are willing to change or fix things despite exhausting every resource you have to aid in reconciliation. However, I’ve found through personal experience and watching others, that is seldom the case. Usually we want to toss it before we ever stop and think about the true cost of what it will mean to trash it. We allow the emotions felt in the temporary “high” of something new to guide our decision making.
Mr Bear will be cherished for so many years to come. Even after our son has outgrown wanting to sleep with him every night and after we’ve long forgotten what he originally looked like. The memories and time and effort put into him are what makes him beautiful and so worth holding on to! His matted fur is just as lovely and desired as his new, soft fur was. His scrunched, stitched, make-shift nose is so much cuter than his original one. He is one of a kind and he is loved.
As a child who grew up all over the world I craved one thing and one thing only. Stability. To grow up with the same friends and live in the same town. To be able to get to know my relatives and have close relationships with them all. To be able to have a place to call “home.” People have always asked me where I’m from and I never knew what to tell them, other than “I’m an Air Force Brat” and I was born in Turkey. Now that I’m older and have a family of my own, I’m still connected with the military life because of my husband, but I still crave that one thing. A place to call home. A place to set down roots and to make our own. To know that I never have to pack and unpack another box. A place that we can do whatever we please to the house and not have to worry about resale value.
Yes, because of my upbringing I still crave adventure every day! I get quite depressed with the same ol’ same ol’ all the time. However, that’s where trips and new restaurants, new activities, new hobbies and new memories fill that desire. Not just tossing the life that I have built aside and starting from scratch. Tired of your home? Rearrange the furniture or paint the walls. Stagnant in your relationships? Make a new friend to add to your existing friends, do something exciting or that has been put off for whatever reason, find a way to reconnect. Reached a lull in your spiritual life? Spend some time learning something new about God. Dedicate more of your time to Him and allow Him to show you things you never would have imagined. Don’t say “well, he’s never answered my prayers so obviously He doesn’t exist.” See the ways in which He HAS helped you. His ways are not your ways! I’m sure if you truly thought about it, He’s answered your prayers…they just weren’t in your timing or in the way you would have preferred. They were answered though!
Find joy in the things that you have put time and effort into. If it’s new still, put time and effort into it! You chose it for a reason. If it gets scratched and dinged, repair it or enjoy the fact that it looks like you actually used it! Hold fast to the memories connected to it. If there’s one thing I know, memories are important. When the ugly wants to rear it’s face at you, remember all of the good! I saw and experienced so many things that so many people only read in books or see on television. I made friends that are all over the globe and I can probably find a place to stay and good company no matter where I’m at. I have extended family who were there for me when my actual family couldn’t be. More than anything, though, I have a strong desire to fix things. To see the beauty in it still.
It doesn’t make life perfect in living this way. However it does make it a life well lived. A life that looked and WAS lived in. Not one that has simply added to the abundant waste.
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