Tuesday, 25 January 2011

He was lost but now is found...

Lord, you knew that Scruffy Barney was hiding underneath the little step that the children use to reach the washbowl in the downstairs cloakroom, didn't you?  You knew all along because you are All Knowing. I'm just wondering, after an hour and a half of turning the house upside down, whether there might have been a tiny chance that you might just have let me know before Katy was beside herself with grief, devastated at the prospect of a night without her favourite cuddly.

Can't say I was that excited at the idea that Kate would wake up repeatedly in the night wanting him either, and it would be my job to remind her that the search would resume with dogs at first light, but nothing could be done in the hours of darkness... I could do with some sleep tonight after a couple of nights of other miscellaneous nocturnal palaver.  

Scruffy Barney. King of the soft toys
So could you not have tipped me the wink an hour earlier?


How often do we lift that stupid step up?  Why would anyone think that there was anything nestling underneath?  We just sort of skate it around with a foot. Barney would have skated imperceptibly with it. Why would anyone put anything under there, except a three year old?

Grant me, O Lord, just a minute inside her beautiful, complex, infuriating, endlessly fascinating little head.  Less than that. I'm sure that just a glimpse would help me understand a bit more what it's like to be three.  Why on earth you'd put your favourite thing in all the world underneath a plastic Ikea step in the downstairs loo and then forget about him.

So, was it character-building, then?  An exercise in self control? Persistence?

Seek and ye shall find? 

Katy was so happy to see the scruffy little object back that she hugged him tight and wouldn't stop kissing him, tears still wet on her cheeks from the previous hour and a half which had been peppered with Mummy and Daddy's dire pronouncements, such as, 'We can't think of anywhere else to look, Katy', and 'You'll have to manage tonight with Posh Barney, Scruffy has a really good hiding place this time'. 


(A note for the uninitiated: Barney is Katy's favourite toy and constant companion. He came from a nearly new sale and had already been, shall we say, loved. He was once lost (you won't be surprised to hear) for about five months, during which time he was replaced, by another, identical Barney shipped in from the States specially. Then he was found (this occasion behind Grandma's chest of drawers) and he looked so bedraggled next to Pristine Barney that they were christened 'Posh Barney' and 'Scruffy Barney'.  Since then Scruffy has got scruffier, and Posh is pretty much as he was then, because he just gets to lounge around on Katy's bed all day.)

Other places Scruffy Barney has been lost:

Chatsworth Garden Centre (overnight)
Morrisons supermarket (so many times they know me on Customer Services)
Sainsbury's supermarket (finally located in frozen foods)
On top of a very high display of rolled carpets in a flooring shop. (Required a ladder and game shop assistant to retrieve him)
In the library (retrieved eventually from the outsize section)
Marks and Spencer cafe (for about half an hour, by which time we'd walked back to the car park)
In the garden (found in the playhouse, in a bucket of sand, in the greenhouse underneath a tomato plant, in a welly, in a forsythia bush, in the gutter on the back of the house...need I go on?)

I love the idea that each time he was lost, you knew where he was. I do know that for many of the crises listed above, brief but heartfelt arrow prayers have been offered your way, and the fact that Scruffy is around to be lost again is testament to those answered prayers.

Do you love him too?

So, I'm reaching for a spiritual parallel here. I'm wondering if there's some Life Application that leaves me able to go to bed having learned something profound from the lost hour and a half of my life that I spent scouring the place for Scruffy.  I'm going to have a moment's silence right now so that you could gently suggest one, if you feel so moved, Lord...


Nope. Aside from the obvious, which is that I love my daughters so much that I would turn over the house to get back their best thing for them so that they could sleep - self interest aside. Poor little Katy thought she'd lost her Scruffy. That must have been awful from her perspective. My little love. Maybe that's it.  And she went so quiet so quickly I think she must have worn herself out. 

I know I did.

Have a good sleep, my little Kate.

Scruffy Barney is back.  Hallelujah.


So, it's the following day, and I have the following insights:

1.  Allegory:  Barney is The Pearl of Great Price, and the fact that an exhausted Mummy and Daddy turned the house upside down to find him demonstrates how precious he is (to Kate). Hmm.

2.  Parallel: Barney is the Lost Sheep -  we love Katy so much that we didn't rest until we had found Barney so that she wouldn't be bereft at bedtime.  I love Katy (and Lizzie) so much that at times it feels as if my heart will explode, so to reflect that you love me so much more than that is something so enormous that I can't get my head round it.

3.  Conviction:  Gentle reminder that I need to work more on my stores of patience, calm, perseverance, self control, etc etc.

4.  There is no particular Message From Above:  Barney got lost, Barney got found. Barney is a stuffed toy beloved by a small girl. I am a parent.  These things happen. Quite often, actually.

Whichever it is, or isn't, thankyou Lord that Katy and Scruffy have been reunited. For now.

Here's to next time.  

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