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A Teddy Bear with a Comforting Message

Only later did I realize why the teddy bear in the hospital gift shop made me smile…

A Teddy Bear With a Comforting Message

Every time I passed the hospital gift shop, the bear in the window made me smile: a cute, little, tan fuzzy one wearing a maroon and white sweater—my school colors from Austin High back in Chicago. Somehow, it cheered me up on my walk to the hospital chapel to pray for my husband, Wally. A lifelong pipe smoker, at age 78 he’d undergone an operation to remove a cancerous kidney. There were complications. His prognosis wasn’t good.

Wally was my second husband, but it felt like we’d been orbiting each other our entire lives. We met back in 1970 in Lombard, Illinois at a Parents Without Partners meeting. Two years later, we married and combined our families, becoming a real-life Brady Bunch. Now we were enjoying our retirement in central Florida, fishing for large-mouth bass and filling our house with company—as well as the stuffed teddies and pandas I collected.

Then Wally’s doctor ordered X-rays and found the tumor. At first, Wally’s prospects looked good. But sixteen days after surgery, his other kidney failed. He was on dialysis, and his other organs were deteriorating. The writing was on the wall. In the chapel I prayed, “Thy will be done, dear Lord. Whatever that is, please help me to cope with it.”

Two days after that, Wally was gone.

I returned to the hospital a few weeks later for a routine test. I barely held myself together, thinking about the last time I’d roamed those halls. Then I passed the gift shop. Somehow, the sight of that teddy bear still made me smile. I don’t need another stuffed animal, I thought. I need Wally. But I walked in anyway and picked it up for a closer look.

That’s when I saw the label sewn onto it. “Assembled and distributed @ First & Main, Inc., Lombard, IL.” Just a skip away from Wally’s old house, in the town where we’d first met.

Wally the teddy bear has been an enormous comfort to me ever since.

READ MORE: LOVE IS IN THE AIR

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Walking in Grace 2023 Devotional

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We wanted to let you know that we have changed the name of Daily Guideposts to Walking in Grace —(Don’t worry — we promise it is the ONLY change we’ve made!)

Walking in Grace 2023 is the perfect way to start or end each day, focusing on God’s love, and connecting you to a community of writers and readers. Each daily devotion will bless you with a short Scripture verse that draws you into His word, a true moving story about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope, and optimism, a short personal prayer that helps you put the day’s message to work in your own life, and a unique “Digging Deeper” Scripture for further reflection.

In just a few minutes a day, Walking in Grace 2023 will help you find the spiritual richness you long for in your life.

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