Monday, October 1, 2012

Anatomy of a Teddy Bear: Restoring Lucy

Lucy in her Sunday-best, 2010
You may remember last year when I wrote about Lucy Bear's miraculous arrival at Prairie Cottage. You may also remember how the joy of receiving her was short-lived due to an unfortunate accident with the washing machine.
For nearly two years I struggled with guilt over it. The bald nose and scruffy, matted, frizzled fur haunted me—this wasn't my Lucy anymore. Yet what could I do? I simply couldn't give her to a thrift shop; this bear has been in the family since before I can remember. Grandma used to let me play with her often when I was little, and even as I began to grow up, Lucy was still very special to me. Getting rid of her would be like abandoning a member of the family or betraying my best friend. I couldn't do it. And yet, I felt like I had disfigured my old friend, and I wished like crazy I'd never put her in the washer. But of course that was impossible. Time travel only works in fiction, and doncha know, God doesn't just wave His hand and restore teddy bears to their original condition.
...or does He?

Fast-forward to June of this year. It all started with a decision I'd come to—after much prayer, pondering and discussion about it—that I was wearing myself out trying to sew practically my entire wardrobe (which is another story entirely). In a nutshell, I decided to buy meself some blouses to tide me over the Summer and lighten up my sewing burden. So that fine June day, Mom and I drove out to CdA and hit the thrift stores in search of shirtwaists. At our last stop—the Hospice Thrift store in CdA—I “happened” to look over at the stuffed animals, and saw... Lucy's twin!
Lucy, New Bear, Little Lucy
Now I've been thrift shopping ever since I can remember, and never once in twenty-odd years have I ever seen another bear like Lucy. Smaller versions, yes (such as Little Lucy), but never a full-sized Lucy clone! It was just too miraculous to ignore; I knew God meant this bear for me...especially since she had a purple ribbon round her neck. ;-)
I had a spot of bother coming up with a name for this new member of the Lucy tribe. Nothing seemed right. And the fact that the New Bear's fur and nose (still in perfect condition) only reminded me how Lucy had once looked, and what I'd done to her...well, that didn't help.
Then came The Idea.

Perhaps you can guess where this is going.
The Idea was to unstuff both bears, then re-stuff New Bear with Lucy's old skin and as much of her old stuffing as needed. Kinda like putting her soul into a new body. And if that's too oogie-boogie for you, just think of it as giving Lucy a new skin.
At first, the idea horrified me. It'd be like dismembering my best friend and sacrificing an innocent bystander to my silly whims!
But the more I prayed and thought about it, the more resigned I became to the idea. After all, I didn't need two Lucy-bears, nor could I get rid of one or both of them. And after all, it would be the closest thing to restoring Lucy to her original state—pre-wash.
So one fine day in early August—shortly after Mom's cataract surgery and a little before the Grandparents' visit—I took the plunge, bathing the whole business in prayer.
Old Lucy, New Lucy
I'm happy to say it was far less traumatic than I'd feared. To God be the glory! Originally I was just going to put the old skin in the new skin, intact, and re-stuff as needed. Unfortunately, that would have made New Lucy too stiff. So I had to take Old Lucy's skin apart and stuff each piece into the new skin separately—head, body and limbs. However, it turned out that only the old head and body would fit comfortably in the new skin, so Lucy's old limbs are now sitting in a bag with the rest of her old stuffing. But I was able to use the original arm- and leg-stuffing for her new limbs, and a good bit of head- and body-stuffing, so there's still quite a bit of Old Lucy in the new skin. It occurred to me that I might one day chop up the old limbs into confetti and re-stuff the new limbs with it...but I'm not ready to take that step yet. What if it didn't work? So for now I'm content to have Old Lucy's head and body and stuffing inside a soft, cuddly and velvet-nosed new skin. And by God's grace, with each day that passes she seems more and more like my Lucy. I'll probably never forget entirely that I had to do cosmetic surgery on her, but even that has made her more dear to me. I thank God for His amazing love, His showing me that my little whims and wishes are important to Him. He could have chosen to make me live with what I'd done for the rest of my life, and gradually help me to accept it. But instead He chose to send me New Lucy and put a plan into my mind to make amends for my mistake. We truly serve an AWESOME GOD!
Lucy, post-surgery, with buddy Booffy
 ...but you can bet your sweet life I won't be putting this bear in the wash again!!!

Laugh all you want; call me what you will.
This is who I am.

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

I finally updated the page on Peter's Silver Birthday, so now y'all can see what we did to celebrate!

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