Our family holds a fondness for the Hundred Acre Wood. Winnie the Pooh held the honor of being almost the only animated Disney my sister and I watched when we were little. As I grew older, I appreciated A. A. Milne’s original Pooh books still more—the whimsical line illustrations, the comforting narrator’s voice, the stuffed characters so full of life, and most of all, of course, the winsomely loveable, endearingly real Bear of Very Little Brain. I found it easy to see why my mom used to read Winnie the Pooh to wind down during brain-frying times at college—the gentle storytelling and wonderfully witty English humor refresh the mind and heart.
When I studied British Children’s Literature during a semester abroad at Oxford, I was awe-struck to learn my elderly tutor had personally known Robin Milne—the REAL Christopher Robin. Never mind her doctorate, residency at Regent’s Park College, and service on the committee for the Carnegie Medal. That she knew the boy who knew Pooh topped it all for me.
And so, when the new Winnie the Pooh movie came out—with apparently an admirable keeping to the original spirit and story—my sister and I planned a “sister date” once it arrived at our local two-dollar theater. But we did not see the Bear of Very Little Brain—except for the one in the arms of a toddler who also came to see the movie today, one of many children who, like us, had to turn back from a full house. Apparently the theater should have scheduled more than one showing a day…perhaps they did not expect a wholesome “kids” movie to prove so popular.
Our minor disappointment vanished in light of the children’s—tiny ones toting their own Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, or Piglet…a little boy who had come for his birthday…a little girl we saw in tears. Young family after young family, out to escape the heat on a Saturday afternoon. We felt for them, remembering how very all-consuming a day’s disappointment can seem when you are only three. My sister and I went on to have a lovely outing at Jamba Juice; I hope those families found something else fun to do, too.
I wonder if our day-to-day disappointments ever seem as small to our Father in Heaven as these children’s might seem to us adults. He can see the big picture, after all—He knows we will someday see our disappointments, mountainous as they seem now, fit into their place in the master puzzle of His plan. Yet somehow I think He does not skim over them…that just as we felt compassion for these little ones today, He does not belittle our daily hurts and heartaches, but walks in them with us, if we will let Him. I want to be more aware, both of showing His tenderness and understanding to others in their disappointments and of letting Him in to walk with me in mine.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” ~Psalm 103:13-14
What sweet reminder, both for the Christian walk and the parenting one.
I didn’t read Winnie-the-Pooh until I was an adult and it was on our school reading schedule 😉 But we enjoyed it–me, perhaps, more than the kids.