The Ballad Of Blue Bear
I got the text. 911. Blue Bear is missing.
Before my nephew was even born, he was given a gift. A little blue teddy bear. He’s four now, but the little blue bear is his favorite friend. He carries it everywhere. He can’t go to sleep without it. He doesn’t leave the house without it.
Blue Bear is well loved.
Recently, just as I was getting out of my car exhausted from a long day of work, I received a text. It was from my brother, asking me to drive down a busy stretch of highway. It seems the little blue bear was missing. My nephew, in an attempt to make his friend comfortable in the hot car, had held him up to the window to get some air.
And the wind sucked him out onto the highway.
“I’m on it,” was my response.
I flew through our neighborhood at God knows what speed. All I knew was that my nephew had lost his most precious toy and if there was any chance of saving him, I would do whatever it took.
Of course, I feared the worst. If blue bear was in the middle of that particular stretch of road, well, there was virtually no chance of his survival. He was a tiny stuffed toy and likely already destroyed.
But I had to try.
As I neared the area where he had flown out the window, I slowed and began to look in the road and on both sides. I saw no signs of life.
At the next red light I called my sister-in-law. She told the story I already knew. My nephew had cried and she had cried. She assured him they could find a replacement for Blue Bear.
But that wouldn’t be the same would it?
As I turned around and headed back up the highway, I saw him.
“I found him! I found him!” I screamed into the phone, literally overcome with relief.
He was face down in the grass, in the median, on the other side of a fence. I had to drive almost a mile to turn around and double back. In my excitement, I completely forgot where I saw him. So, I parked my car on the shoulder, crossed two lanes of busy traffic and began running up the median.
I ran the wrong way.
So, I turned around and ran back…and then I found him.
He was damp from the evening grass, but basically unharmed from the ordeal. I held blue bear with both hands close to my chest. At my car, I cleared out the passenger seat for him. He deserved a seat of honor. I drove him to my bother’s house straight to my waiting nephew.
And went home to collapse.
Just a few weeks ago, I had plans to meet someone for dinner but she called and said she was sorry, that night she just needed to be with her mom.
As children, we’ve all had that favorite stuffed animal, a favorite shirt or security blanket. Something that makes us feel safe. Something we turn to when we’re sick, or lonely, tired or frightened.
As adults, we’d like to think we can take care of ourselves. That we’ve grown beyond the need for a comforter.
But have we?
When times are really hard. When we are at the end of our rope, don’t we all need to be with our mother?
If you are like most people, the Bible can be a book that’s hard to identify with. It’s filled with strange, superstitious stories. Stories of magic, sacrifice, giant fish, people walking on water and people returning from the dead.
There’s a story in the fifteenth chapter of Luke of a woman with ten coins and one coin is missing. She searches everywhere until she finds it. And when she does, she invites all her friends over to celebrate and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.”
Maybe you’ve never lost a small silver coin.
Or maybe it’s the idea of God as a loving father that’s hard to understand. Maybe your father wasn’t around. For some people their father is far from the loving protector that Jesus speaks about.
Maybe you need a mother.
Job 38:29 asks, “From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost?”
Deuteronomy 32:18 says, “You were unmindful or the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”
This is feminine imagery for God.
Or even more explicitly, as it says in the book of Isaiah, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.”
So, maybe you can’t relate to the image of God as a loving father. Or perhaps for you the thought of a woman searching for a lost coin has little meaning. Maybe your God is an uncle. An uncle who loves his nephew so much that that he will do anything to find a little lost blue bear. Or maybe your God is like your mom. Your mom who longs to comfort you.
May you see God as a limitless expression of love, unrestrained by our ability to define or describe. May you experience that love and may you show that love to others.