Once upon a time there was a cupboard full of toys. One shelf belonged to the cuddly toys, mostly old, worn and threadbare. There was a monkey with scratchy hands and a moth-eaten waist coat, a velvet elephant with a missing ear, a piglet with a missing arm, an assortment of bears and a cat whose whiskers had been pulled out.
A very small boy lived in the house. He had a favourite bear called Teddy. Teddy did not belong in the cupboard with the other bears; he, along with Woolly, the boy’s comfort blanket went everywhere with the boy.
At bedtime, the boy, Teddy and Woolly would go to the cupboard, collect the other cuddlies and, the boy’s arms overflowing, they would all make their way up the stairs to bed.
One evening as the boy struggled to place his short legs one in front of the other on the stairs, he wobbled a bit and the cat fell from the pile bouncing down the steps to land at the feet of his sister. She picked it up and tried to give it back to him. But he didn’t want it.
The girl was left holding this dropped, rejected thing. She didn’t want it; had never found a use for stuffed toys. But its rejection tugged at her heart and empathy welled within her. So she took it to her own bed. And there it stayed for years and years; recipient of her confidences, partaker of her hurts and disappointments, sharer in her hopeless dreams; emotional anchor holding her soul in place as she went about her daily life.
Until another claimed her soul and acceptance, not rejection, became the order of the day.