When you were younger, did you ever have a toy that you loved so much that you practically (or literally) broke it because you carried it with you everywhere? I had a teddy bear, given to me on the day I was born, named “Huggy Bear,” and she was the best. I was a girl of many stuffed animals throughout the years, but Huggy took the cake.

I played with her from the time of her being white and fluffy to being gray and totally fuzzless (and then some). She still has a special spot on my shelf.

I’m not the first to have a bond that strong with a favorite toy, nor will I be the last. One of the world’s most famous childhood characters, Winnie the Pooh, is based on creator A. A. Milne’s son’s favorite stuffed bear (and other animals who would become the other characters). Milne was so charmed by his son’s love for story-telling and world-making that he created a series based on it. It’s been charming the rest of us for almost 100 years now through books, movies, television shows, and more.

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I had several Pooh character outfits. Here’s me rocking out at Disney World to a band with my dad while wearing a Tigger shirt!

Now, there are many wonderful articles out there about some of the history of the series, including the tragic dislike that both Milne and his son (Christopher Robin – surprise!) had for the series by the end of their days, as well as some of the best quotes from it that gave us plentiful life lessons, so I’ll keep this brief. The biggest life lesson I learned while adventuring through the Hundred Acre Wood is that everybody has a place there.

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”

Everybody, from the anxious Piglet, to the overactive Tigger, to the perpetually cloudy Eeyore, to the outsider figure Christopher Robin, to the characters that only show up occasionally, has a place in the Hundred Acre Wood because of the effort that Pooh Bear puts into making his friends feel loved and at home, wherever their adventures take them. There’s space for every type and quirk because of the immense effort that’s taken to love people just as they are – to go to their homes, invite them along on the journey, and make common bonds among them all, even though their personalities could not be more different.

That kind of living and uniting love is a lesson that’s stuck with me long past the days of carrying around my raggedy and beloved teddy bear. What’s one of yours?

Emmie Arnold

Emmie Arnold is a follower of Jesus, survivor and thriver, a Master of Divinity graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary, blogger at Illness to Wellness, musician, photographer, traveler, goofball, and optimist.

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