I recently found my daughter’s “first favorite” stuffed animal as I was beginning to pack up her childhood bedroom for our upcoming move. A small black and white spotted Dalmatian dog she would anxiously reach out to hold with her small pudgy hands. And who, through her muffled pacifier filled mouth, would then shriek ‘Woof-Woof!’
As I held “Woof-Woof” in my now aging & (beginning to) wrinkle hands, I found comfort in reflecting on the sights and sounds from so many years ago. Was this the same level of comfort my daughter felt when she too held this same toy as a small child? As my fingers brushed past the grub & grim I remembered each and every stain. The dripping chocolate ice cream cone, the trips to the beach, the mud-puddle hurdles across the parking lot as we ventured into Mass one rainy Sunday morning & “Woof-Woof” fell from my daughters tight grip onto the rain-soaked pavement just as we hopped over the final puddle!
Each examination of every stain kept me peering into a heart full of memories. Most sweet and precious and others painful, as when she clutched “woof-woof” tight against her chest & tucked up close under her chin the day she severed the tip of her tiny little finger. And yet although “Woof-Woof” has made several trips through the laundry in an effort to make him look “brand-new” again, I am grateful now for the stains that have been left behind. Because it’s all of that, the good and the bad; which make the purpose of this little stuffed animal so valuable. That make “Woof-Woof” so loved.
And while holding this forlorn stuffed puppy, I unexpectantly pause to examine the comfort of my own life lived out.
Just like this stuffed-animal my own life deserves to be examined. Not critiqued. Not judged. But examined. What has the ‘messiness of life’ left behind on me? Was there a purpose in it all? Has it caused me to value somewhat differently? Has any of it made me more loving or loved?
And I must be the individual examiner. Not a peer. Nor loved one. But me, myself…and God beside me.
He alone holds the comfort I need each time I examine my conscious and peer deeply into my soul. Especially, as I discern whether to accept or to polish away the grub and grim that stains me.
He alone will determine the value of each stain.
And He alone will be the one to hold me in His hands one day remembering the sights and sounds of my life.
I pray He too finds comfort in the life I struggle to live for Him. For I know it is only Him who makes all things (brand) New.
Hugs n’ blessings,