My Stuffed “It”

stuffed-dog-prettyI just hold on to “it.”  I cuddle, carry and press close me the thing that I have no idea what it is because I’m only four years old but I will not let go of “it.”  Just try.

“It.”  So impersonal.  Some of us have named our “it” but I just know what “it” is that travels with me throughout the day and through my dreams at night.

Mom says “it’s” getting tattered, worn and should be washed but I know that’s because “it’s” been used daily and possessed; more importantly than oxygen as though I know what oxygen is at four.  I’ll shake your hand with “it” against my chest but don’t think that the hand shaking would occur without “it” safely snuggled by me, “its” owner.

A quandary for mom and a totally consoling and soothing addition to a four year old.  When should mom give me those grown up words, “time to let go of ‘it’” as those my “it” could die or be no more?  Perhaps on my 18th birthday mom could cleverly pose the question without me answering her as though further discernment is needed about my holding on to my fluffy and now fully tattered “it.”

Originally the shape was clearly a long eared puppy with lonesome eyes and an imaginary-wagging tail.  Was our connection love at first sight or was it meant to be?  It doesn’t matter because the “it” and me happened.  I just knew it.  I talked to “it” and “it” always responded but I have no idea what “it” said.  I’d bring up current events and amazingly “it” would agree with me.  Smart puppy, my “it.”  With “it” beside me, I felt that I could do the next “it” in my life that four year olds are supposed to do.

I never make a distinction between my cheap, cotton puppy and myself.  “It” was never “that;” “it” was comfortably a part of me.  So-called friends tried to take “it” away from me but I quickly learned that loud screaming pays off.  I got “it” back.  I looked at “it” and “it” saw me.  (I’m only four years old, what do you expect?)

Is “it” slowly replacing my mom as I grow up or is “it” an extension of her as my age extends into the troubling and confusing world of kindergarten?  Do others in kindergarten have an “it” like mine so I don’t feel so bad or should I leave “it” at home and just remember the memories of “it”?  Oh, the trials of being four years old carrying a now seemingly tattered cotton thing that should be washed or tossed out by any mom but refused to be by any four year old.  (See: “quickly learned that loud screaming pays off.”)

It’s “it.”  There’s no proper noun for this clung to thing, caressed by and by my sleeping side each night.  To give “it” a name would make it separate from me which is out of the question.  How can a unity be separated?  By a stupid, separate name it can.

Is religion an “it” or is religion something so close and intimate to you that you neither name it, disown it or discard it?  The “it” of religion is held deeply within us, separated by nothing, mostly unnamed and held close to our bosoms to get us through the next day of stuff needing to be accomplished.

Is the “it” of my long gone cotton puppy what others could call “a crutch?”  Does religion replace my childhood “it” with an adult version that placates and explains away all that needs placating and explaining?  Are all those unbelievers correct to rid me of my “it” and then to be or behave according to their “it’s”?  Unbelievers’ “its” are normally all anti-my-“it” and replaced with nothing.  It’s so very easy to be against something with no alternative.

If I started a war with my “it”  then I agree with them.  If I held my “it” over your “it,” I also agree with them.  If I use my “it” for personal gain than I’ll know that my “it” is not really an “it.”

Just let anyone on the playground of life take away my “it” because they can’t.  I’m not scared or frightened of them because I have my “it” close beside and within me.  And I don’t need to scream loudly anymore either.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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