What Matters to Us Matters to God   Leave a comment

My sister Mardi emailed me this a few years ago:

On NPR I heard a really sweet story of a Dad and his little boy. The little boy had had a serious illness, had nearly died and had a long hospitalization and lots of surgery and treatments. Through it all he had clung to his Teddy Bear, Toby. Even after he had gotten better, he carried Toby with him everywhere. Then when he was 7 the family was on vacation and when they got home, Toby was missing. They told him and he said “I don’t know how I can go on without Toby” and then he said “I feel like I’ve lost my soul”!

Well, his Dad promptly got on the next plane back to Anaheim and went straight to the hotel.¬† The hotel people looked and looked and asked the staff and found that the bear had been found by a cleaning person, but it was in a trashcan and so they had thrown it out. Undeterred, the father asked where the trash was put. They showed him the large (size of a semi truck) dumpster in the back. Good news, the truck had not yet come to pick it up, it was scheduled to pick it up the next day….bad news, it was completely sealed with no way of getting into it. But, as they were talking about it, the truck drove up! The father convinced half a dozen of the hotel employees to go with him and help him look for Toby. He said that they were all parents and understood why he needed their help. He also offered $100 to the person who found the bear. So they all get in a van and follow the garbage truck to the recycling facility. (at this point I am crying in the car as I am listening to the story unfold) Now, this facility is not just a city dump; it is a huge building with many bays where the trucks pull up and cranes lift off the dumpsters. Inside is an area the size of an airplane hanger with all sorts of equipment and vehicles and people working. The people at the facility are not going to let them go in there. But after a lot of talking they agree to shut down the equipment and let them look for Toby….but only for 15 minutes.

Well, when they empty out the dumpster on the floor, he said it was a huge mountain of garbage, bigger than he could have imagined. It was all runny with a lake of brown garbage liquid with all these plastic bags sitting and floating in the brown goo. The hotel people jump in and start tearing open bags looking for the bear. The father is overwhelmed by the enormity of the task but begins tearing open bags too. Then a number of the employees of the facility put on their gloves and begin wading through the muck tearing open bags too! (I’m bawling in the car). There are now about 18 people looking through the mountain. But as the father looks at the size of the pile and the number of bags, he realizes in despair that it will be really impossible to look through it all. And in his heart he just says “Toby, we’re not going to be able to find you unless you somehow show yourself”. He said that he is not a particularly spiritual guy, he’s an accountant and auditor…. a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of a guy. But as that thought went through his mind, he tore open a bag, and there was Toby, dry and clean. Everyone, of course was jubilant. The father immediately calls home to tell his little boy that he had found Toby. He said his little boy was happy, but seemed kind of matter-of-fact and the father realized that for the little boy it seemed that his father had just gone and gotten his bear back. The child had no idea of the super-human effort that had been accomplished for him.


Posted November 1, 2011 by janathangrace in Story

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