Monday, April 1, 2013

I Once Had a Teddy Bear...

I once had a Teddy Bear. He was called "religion".  He was given to me by my parents in my very first weeks of life. Of course, they thought they were giving me something of great value, that would comfort me on cold dark nights when I slept alone.  Teddy was supposed to always be there for me...and for almost 18 years he was.

I used to think Teddy had magical powers.  When I was alone I used to talk to him...and I swear I could hear him talk back to me also. I would sing to him and would never leave home without him.

Some of my friends had their own Teddies...but none of them were as good or special as MY Teddy.  Of course, many of them did not spend as much time or idolize their Teddy as much as I did mine.  I thought that made me a better person because I was so attentive and attached.  Me and my Teddy could do anything as long as we were together.  I was totally terrified of the occasional thought of what would happen if Teddy was taken from me...or what if he changed in his meaning to me?

As I grew up, I started getting irritated that Teddy no longer talked to me.  I started realizing that maybe he never really had...that it was all my imagination. My Teddy was becoming more cold and distant to me than what I had perceived my friends feelings for theirs.  Amazingly, some of my friends and family started talking more to and about their Teddies as they became adults. They even started telling me what MY Teddy wanted and expected out of me. I became confused.

I started studying the history of Teddy Bears. I found out that they were basically manufactured to make little children behave and have a sense of companionship in life...real or not. I can't remember exactly which day, but one day I simply realized as an adult that Teddy really wasn't what I thought he was.  He was just a cold, inanimate object that people made up a lot of stories and legends about. Teddy seemed a good tradition for raising children...but nobody really had a handle on when or how children were supposed to "give up" these stories and fantasies about Teddy. Yet, one day, I just did.  I realized that Teddy wasn't real...the other people and earth around me were.  I didn't have to carry Teddy around with me anymore to enjoy nature or feel companionship.  I suddenly found myself free to work and play without wondering what Teddy thought or if he felt left out.

Many of my friends and family now think I am really strange living life without my Teddy.  They were so used to my going everywhere with him...living for him they would say. Most of them still have their Teddies...and they all meet once or more times a week to talk about their Teddies and show their lukewarm devotions, or in some cases more fanatical devotion than when they were children.  I sometimes feel left out of such activities...a strange detachment from a majority of my old friends and family because I no longer have a Teddy to share.  But the last laugh is on them, because I feel much stronger and have more time for other more important activities than talking to my make believe Teddy.  I now know that it is up to ME to take care of myself.  I don't waste time on tales of Teddyland where we all will be united with our Teddies in the "next life".  This is good for me...to know that life is about me...and the real people around me...right now.

Goodbye Teddy.

9 comments:

Dave McDonagh said...

Ayn Rand defined morality as "a code of values to guide man's choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life." I think what you are saying is that the primary focus of our free will is that we are free to make conscious choices. "Thinking is not an automatic function. In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. I do believe that we all have a free will, which in essence allows each of us to choose consciously or unconsciously our values. Unfortunately many take the road of unconsciously following others (politically, religiously, etc) without using their free will. Just some random thoughts as I read your blog.

Bonnie said...

You're into parables now, I see. Enjoyed this.

Gomer Girl said...

Ed,

I am so sad for you. I remember seeing you carring your teddy at school. You didn't even know that I was alive, but I thought you were one of the bravest guys I knew. (I didn't know you personally). We had a class together. But your faith in Teddy was amazing, I didn't know anyone else that stood out as much as you did.

I don't know if you read the book about Teddy, but it is very good and I bet you haven't read it in sometime. I know that Teddy is real and I can't imagine not having him in my life.

The thing I am wondering about is are you going by what your friends and family have told you or are you reading this on your own? Sometimes we are not being taught by the right teacher, maybe you need a new one. Maybe if you try talking to Teddy with your heart he will hear you and answer!

Please before you give up on Teddy will you just try one more time?

Your Friend,
Catherine

edward said...

Thanks Catherine. I truly do appreciate your concern and your observations from my youth. Maybe someday I can share with you the long story of my LONG odyssey that brought me to where I am most comfortable today. Coming out of "Fundamentalism" is not for sissies. It has cost me a lot of pain and some very close relationships to be honest with myself and others. But...I think I am not alone in this. I have met scores of people with similar stories of pilgrimage as mine.

I don't write these things trying to challenge or change you or anyone else in my life. I continue to respect many in my family who are very devoted and real believers. At the same time, I have to have an equal voice to theirs in discussing how faith is or isn't useful to some of us. I know we mostly hear the story the other way around...a miraculous conversion "on the road to Damascus" or a miracle that causes someone to take the leap of faith. I always loved these stories growing up...and always wanted a similar experience. Alas, it never really happened.

If I was brave as a youth to "carry my teddy everywhere with me", believe me, it takes a lot more "bravery" to change and grow in contrary to my roots. I know that many "looked up to me" for my previous faith positions and actions. I can only hope that an equal number of people will now find encouragement in that their doubts or lack of belief does not mean they are bad people or have no future or reason for hope. I find hope in many other things now...including many friends and family who love me unconditionally for who I am. That part of Christianity still makes a lot of sense to me, though I don't see it practiced as much as one might like to see...in or outside of the church.

Oh...and believe me...the changes have come through MUCH reading and consideration. It is not emotional or reactionary...contrary to what my mother might think who is still praying for me daily :). And I still appreciate those prayers even if they mean something different to me now.


ED

peace said...

I expect the devils loving u, full of pride that hes blinded you with your own self importance and lied to you that teddy is dead , teddy did indeed died for our sins but he rose again and can live in believers hearts , but once the holy spirit is rejected what hope have you for repentance if you reject his son he sent too save this humanbeings from eternal separation from him. would u really want too spend eternity with devils like what hitlar for instance had in him .
its so good to hear your mother hasnt given up on praying form you .

edward said...

Just seeing this late comment, somewhat condemned to Hell for giving up Teddy. While such judgmental and fundamentalist mentalities make me sad...some might be happy to know I also gave up the "Devil Doll" with the horns at the same time as Teddy, so I don't really fear your judgment of me.

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