Last week, in a loft clearance, among a bag of cuddly toys, I found an old comrade. Winne the Pooh was given to me by my longest-standing friend, one of those rare kind with whom you share a long history which births an exceptional and precious mutual understanding and acceptance.
Winnie, it seems to me, is a lot like many of us, at least some of the time. His eyes resemble a startled rabbit, as though the complexities of his existence have taken him by surprise and he is unsure of his next step as he teeters on the edge of bewilderment. One ear is attentive to others, but the other folded down… perhaps he has heard too much and simply cannot manage more, longing for a little silence. He is rotund, but seems accepting that he will never manage that marathon he dreamed of in his youth: or perhaps there is a wistfulness still about those lost opportunities. His colours are faded, giving testimony to the passing of the years and the splendour he once enjoyed. He has stitches too, scars of an over-enthusiastic tussle by a family pet. Some might say he is barely recognisable as the bear he once was.
The thing is though, he is loved. He always has been loved. And those very scars bear witness to the fact he was too precious to simply discard, that he was worth rescuing. He may never be the same, but he has known a little mending. Yes, he was lost for a while and in the darkness, but now he is found and sits where I can see him and smile. He is home where he belongs.
Just like we can be.