When I was a boy, a person in my dad’s first church, better off than we were, gave me a Teddy bear that I cleverly named “Teddy.” If you love a bear, he will get a bit worn. This is particularly true, because when I outgrew stuffed animals as toys to hug, I organized them into a little kingdom. When afraid in the dark, I developed a backstory that my “animals” existed on top of the blankets keeping me safe and Teddy governed these brave warriors wisely and well. I can only point out, never having been eaten by Dracula or clobbered by Frankenstein’s monster, that good King Teddy did the job. He had help from Wile E. Coyote (an Easter gift from Mom and Dad) and several other long running toys. Sir Gordon and his horse Bravo was the best of the lot. If they could not protect me from the dreaded “red spider,” this only taught me that no single myth is perfect for all situations.
All of this meant that Teddy was still a toy in use when I was seven, long past when he normally would have been retired to Mom’s collection of stuff from childhood. He lost an eye over this period and sprang several leaks. This became part of the legend of King Teddy, but also meant he was dying. The music box within had long died and the broken metal post coming out of his back could hurt if you rolled on him incorrectly. What was to one done? Nana, Mom’s mom, came to rescue. She found a button that sort-of matched for his eye. She opened Teddy up and removed the music box creating an attractive (red stitching!) surgical patch on the back. She added red sticking to his feet and King Teddy as good to go.
I recall the day when toys were no longer possibly toys. Star Wars figures went from usable in the gravel driveway, a place where off planet roads were easy to build, to collectibles. I was no longer playing, just admiring some movie or television show and buying cool stuff from the show. We no longer had a space ship (The Gala) in the basement behind the furnace, just some Star Trek and Star Wars stuff.
Sometime in my last move Teddy vanished. After fifty years of lugging him from place to place, he may be gone forever. I cannot be sure, but probably physical Teddy is gone. That’s fine, not even sad. What is sad is that Nana is gone and I cannot call and tell her about this fact. She would have understood that even at almost-fifty-seven, happy childhood memories and keepsakes matter, even if only a bit. She became connected to Teddy and so my inability to find the one reminds me I cannot talk, directly, to the other.
A bit of good news about Christianity is that I can, however, ask for Nana’s prayers. She is not dead, but watching over us all waiting for the consummation of history. Teddy is gone except for memories. Nana lives more vibrantly and soon (as God counts soon) more perfectly than ever she did. Her act of patching up Teddy served today as an outer sign of a deeper reality to me. God takes the beloved and fixes us. He opens us up and replaces our broken music boxes, not just removing them, but allowing us to sing in the choir angelic! If we are blinded in one eye, God helps us see. If our stuffing is battered, God gives us new. We are as we should have been all along.
The great Beloved takes all His beloved and gives us new life. His repairs are perfect and so take time. The day is coming when the trump will resound, the Lord shall descend, and all of us, the living and dead, will meet Him in the air. We will be repaired and the jollification will begin. All our desires will be well ordered and all our work will be play, our play work. Humanity will at long last reach adulthood without losing the heart of a child.
Teddy is gone, mayhap, but this old toy would have been gone soon in any case. All God’s children live, Rest In Peace, and wait for full glorification.
Even so, come Lord Jesus come.