After a long and wonderful few days of Thanksgiving food, friends and family, I was craving spicy food. I pulled into the Rainbow Foods parking lot on a mission to buy the ingredients for tacos. As I made my way into the parking space, my eyes fell on a pale pink blob on the ground. Getting out of the car and locking the doors, I walked toward the shapeless form. I knelt to pick it up. I now held in my hands the soft, pink body of a stuffed bear. Well, it was not actually a bear. It was the round head of a bear with the body of a baby blanket. It was one of those infant inventions created for one thing…..security. The creation contained the plush, smoothness babies like to cuddle. Along its edges was the silky binding that many children move slowly back and forth between their fingers to calm them. The tiny head was without anything that might come off in teething mouths, decorated only with the threads of embroidery.
And here it was….lost to the one who needed it. My eyes scoured the parking lot to see if some frantic parent might be searching for it. Seeing no one, I gently laid its limp body on the base of the lamp post and headed into the store to do my shopping. But I now carried with me a gnawing feeling in my stomach as I thought about the child who was someplace perhaps inconsolable. When I had finished with my shopping I returned to my car to find the pink bear blanket still resting in the wash of the parking lot lights. I said a small prayer for the one who had lost their security.
Later in the evening, the tacos having satisfied that need for spice after all the sweet and hearty foods of Thanksgiving, I thought of all the ways human beings reach out for security. We do it through healthy and unhealthy ways. We have the security of our homes, of our faith communities,our economic status, of our education, of our jobs, of our circle of friends. We also seek security in our beliefs, what we love and what we reject. Most of these forms of security are outside us and have the ability to change or be lost at any moment. The real security we have is in knowing who we are and whose we are…..amazing, creative beings made in the image of God. This is a security that is not outside us but planted deep within from our birth.
Someplace a child may have spent a fitful night unable to reach out and touch that silky binding of a pink blanket. No doubt the parents also were pacing, trying to think where the special bear might have gone. Or maybe, instead, those same parents rubbed the child's back, sang soothing songs that helped the crying one find the quiet spot inside to calm itself, to ease itself into the sleep that will bring a rested morning. Perhaps the loss of the pink bear was just what the child needed to find the security of that quiet voice within that will carry them into a new day.