Thursday, April 09, 2015

Love Bears All Things

He's  not on the roll sheets of any of my five Bible sections but make no mistake, the teddy bear shown above is part of every class I teach. He (I'm assuming it's a he!) has been a staple of Room 258 at WCS for the past four years. The bear has no name although an eighth grader two years ago christened him Agent Fluffy, a moniker that did not catch on. In the early Spring of 2011, Westbury Christian was blessed in an assembly by a gentleman who channels Teddy Roosevelt and who from my perspective, was a virtual clone of The Rough Rider. In his presentation, I was called up to the stage and presented with the teddy bear you see me holding in the above shot. Since that day, T. Bear has lived in my room.

I cannot say when it started for sure but students  began coming into my class and grabbing the bear, holding him for the entire forty-six minutes. Lyanne, a delightful young lady in my third period Gospels class, is never without him. She picks him up when she enters and puts him down when she departs for fourth period. Since third period is my first academic section, I spray the little guy with Febreze right before she gets there. You might ask why. Lyanne's pattern is followed to the tee in periods five, six, seven, and eight. Five different teenagers hold him tight for exactly 230 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, August through May minus holidays and weekends. The least I can do is keep him fresh and aromatic. A three dollar can of Febreze is a small price to pay for my best resource.

I wish I could tell exactly you why the bear matters but I really have no clue. It isn't a gender issue as boys and girls equally vie for his companionship. Maybe it's a throwback to earlier days when stuffed animals were often inseparable buddies to the younger selves of my 8th through twelfth graders. As we get older, we still crave reminders of simpler times, maybe even of silent friends who never speak ill of us and never walk away. Why do we love the 23rd Psalm so much? I think the security it promises makes us feel safe and loved even in the midst of chaos and harm. Even in a Christian environment, the teenage experience can be a minefield with alternating short seasons of despair and elation. In the increasingly lonely culture we have developed in our society, some kids in our country take comfort in drugs or alcohol or escapism or relationships and who knows what else. Our Father in Heaven longs for us to feel His love. Paul strongly makes that case for us in 2 Corinthians 1, verses 3 and 4:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I make no claim to be a deep thinking theologian but I know the Lord's ways are definitely not my ways. Maybe, just maybe, He uses a ball of brown linen and stuffing and plastic to help some of His children navigate a difficult day in Houston, Texas. And for three quarters of an hour, that day for one child becomes  just a bit more bearable. It's a big task for such a little guy.

Applicable quote of the day:
“It's too bad we're not all teddy bears. More stuffing would only make us cuter and cuddlier.”
Richelle E. Goodrich

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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