In 2002, I lost my beloved husband. He died of cancer near Christmastime. Not long before he went into a coma, my Soulmate said to me: “If there’s any way I can send you a message from Heaven, I will do it!”
After he died, it seemed that all my hopes and dreams died with him. I felt utterly lost and alone.
To comfort me, my sister gave me a big Teddy Bear to hold in the endless nights when storms raged in my soul, and tears rained upon my pillow. The Teddy Bear was a great comfort, but eventually the Bear got lost and then I had no one—not even a Teddy.
I plodded through life, feeling drained and miserable. Needless to say, the ensuing years were difficult—a real challenge to survive.
Then, five years ago, I thought I’d found happiness again. I’d found a new Soulmate. I went to California and married a man who seemed the perfect mate for me in every way.
We both loved boating, and fishing, and camping. Gardening and yard sale-ing. Jogging and beachcombing. We were the Perfect Match. Everyone said so. We got married and shared many adventures, but then like many marriages today it all came to an end.
It crashed upon the rocks.
My heart was broken. The same pain and loneliness that I’d endured in 2002 assailed me, again. I’d lost another Soulmate.
Feeling heartsick, I went to visit my friend, Cheryl. She’s the one who always prays with me and gives me good advice. She has spiritual dreams that leave me astounded. She tells me things that she couldn’t have known without Divine Inspiration.
As soon as I arrived at her house, Cheryl said: “I had a dream about you the other night. It was from the Lord.”
Cheryl told me that she had seen my life being restored and reconstructed. She saw me sitting serenely in the midst of this renovation—looking peaceful and happy. Oddly enough, she said that I was arrayed from head to toe in dark blue velvet. Around my shoulders was a blue velvet wrap and on my head was a velvet hat of the same color.
“…Dark blue velvet?” I said dubiously. But I knew better than to argue. I’d learned from past experience that Cheryl’s dreams from the Lord were never wrong, no matter how odd they may seem.
I pondered the dream, wondering what it meant. Later, it lingered in my mind as I left Cheryl’s house and drove down the street.
On impulse, I stopped by my favorite Thrift Shop.
Maybe I’d just pop inside and see if I could find a blue velvet hat and cape! Very unlikely—but I could at least look for a book while I was there—an inspirational book to encourage me. And maybe I could find a big Teddy Bear like the one I’d lost after my husband died. There had to be something in this store to give me hope!
I looked and looked and finally found a book entitled: “Holding on to Hope. ” But I didn’t find a blue velvet hat and gown, or even a Teddy Bear.
I sighed. Dark blue Velvet hats and gowns! What was I thinking? There probably wasn’t anything like that for a hundred miles around.
I walked towards the front, carrying the book. As I approached the cashier counter, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.
A pair of dark eyes were looking at me. Teddy Bear eyes. They seemed to be watching me intently. I started to laugh. The Bear was wearing a dark blue velvet gown. On her head was a dark blue velvet hat.
Reaching for the Teddy, I cuddled her close. She fit in my arms like she belonged there. She had a card attached to her hand. I looked at it. I had no idea what to expect, but what I saw jolted me to the core. “2002,” the card said. “2002 Christmas Holiday Collection.”
Christmas of 2002 was when my husband had died. Was this a message of hope from Heaven? It seemed surreal.
I squinted at the words printed on the card: “Please name me,” it said. “I’d like to be your friend. I’ll always be with you when you are joyful or sorrowful. When you are cheerful or angry. I’ll always be with you.”
I looked at the Teddy Bear and she looked at me. “You’re going home with me,” I said. I didn’t care if she cost a hundred bucks!
I walked to the cash register. When the clerk saw me carrying the Bear, she made a wry face.
“I’ll sell you that bear for a dollar!” she said. “What a nuisance! I’m tired of moving her around. You have no idea how long she’s been here! No one would buy her. I don’t know why! She’s in perfect condition.”
I smiled, not saying a word. I knew why the Teddy Bear hadn’t sold. I knew why she had to wait and wait and wait…The poor little thing!
The clerk chattered on, but my mind was busy thinking. I glanced down at the bear’s card: “Please name me,” it said. What would be a good name for this beautiful symbol of hope and promise?
I looked at the book in my other hand. “Holding on to Hope” the title said.
Indeed! I was holding onto Hope—with both hands!
I smiled as I paid for my purchases. And when I walked outside with the Teddy Bear cradled in my arms, I whispered her new name:
“Hope,” I murmured. “You give me hope for the future. You’ll be my friend forever!”