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Sacrifices of Love

Here in central Ohio we have a store called Build a Bear. I had been told anyway. I don’t have little girls. And I don’t think it was around when I had little boys. And I am not sure that my boys would have gone if it had been.

This place allows you to pick out the “skin” of various stuff animals, mostly bears, but dogs and other animals, too. Then they stuff it right in front of you according to order. You can pick out a birth certificate and give it a pretend bath and put clothes on it … of course, the skin is one cost and the clothes another, etc.

Well, I actually went there the other day—never been there. And it was January 2. Everyone was still off work. (Yeah. Not so smart.) And all the little girls in central Ohio were there to spend their Build a Bear gift certificates. Or so it would seem anyway. The store was crammed full of little girls. The line to “stuff” your bear ran from the back of the store to the front door. Now, picture this scene as in I walk with my six-foot, one-inch seventeen-year-old son. I wish I had thought to bring my camera. Had I known what an ordeal it was going to be or the looks that would cross his face, I would have for sure.

He wanted to give a bear to his girlfriend for her birthday. He was going to order one online for an exorbitant price. I suggested this place because I knew it wasn’t too pricey, plus I heard you could record your own message. That got him. I had no idea, though, what was completely involved in the process or how busy the place would be.

He wanted to bolt out the door right away. We were overwhelmed with shelves and shelves of “bear clothes” and various trappings. We wandered around with a look of shock on our faces as we observed all the little giggles and laughter going on with girls at various stations completing their bears. Oh my! Can I tell you this was not the place my son wanted to be? And the long line made it a place I did not want to be either! I don’t have girls. I haven’t been “girly” in a very long time. I laugh at how often I find little “girly things” somewhat irritating myself. My son, though, was in true agony and also in a horrible dilemma.

His girlfriend’s birthday was the next day—too late to order online now. I felt guilty, as it had been my suggestion. So I told him to go and get something to eat after we picked out our “skin” (the most manly bear he could find, by the way) and I stood in line. Fifteen minutes later, I was not even halfway there! I know if I had not been with him, he never would have stuck it out. But he stood in line with me until we were next in line to get stuffed and he saw what they did and said and asked you.

Keep in mind this is a store mostly for little girls. They ask you the name of your bear. They ask you how hard or firm you want it stuffed. Then they make you pick out a heart that they put inside the bear before they close it. But first they have you tap the heart to start it, kiss it for love, touch it to your head so it is smart and to your belly so it never goes hungry and to your cheek … well you get the idea. LOL! I wish I had had a camera to capture the look of horror on my son’s face! He says, “I am not doing all of that!” What one won’t do for love!

The young lady at the stuffing station was very kind. She asked if he wanted the shortened version. I am sure the look on his face that said, “I am about ready to punch someone” encouraged her to offer it to him. Still, I was quite impressed when he actually tapped the heart to start it and kissed it before inserting it into the bear. We skipped the bath and the birth certificate. We purchased a stuffed heart that straps to the front and has a pouch where you insert the small recording device-he recorded his message later. Leaving was his prime objective. LOL!

Later in the car he told me he had texted his girlfriend throughout the ordeal simply telling her he was being tortured in order to get her a birthday gift. And when we got to the car, he texted her that he was finally done and though it was awful, she was worth it. To which she texted, “Yea!”

It got to me thinking ... “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2. Jesus endured so much for the love of His Father—to rectify our sinful state, to set us free from the law of sin and death, and to give us eternal life!

Love makes you do funny things … and endure shame. But none more than Jesus! Of course, in that moment when the little girl in front of us was spinning in place so that her bear never gets lost and tapping her heart, the look on my son’s face was close to true horror! LOL!

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