Molly looked way better when I first got her. But here's how she looks now - after many years of love - and some abuse.
(Molly didn't come with the dress - you'll see why she needed to start wearing this dress if you read on. And there's a whole other story about my best friend poking her eye out - I'll save that one for another time...)
Molly Bear became my dearest friend. I slept with her every night, her music lulling me to sleep. When we moved to England the next year, of course Molly came and her familiarity helped soothe the newness of my life there.
Well, much to everyone's regret, when I was seven, our family got a dog. This dog was named Nutch and she was one of those perpetual puppies that was always barking and jumping up on people and tearing apart everything she could get her paws on. So we all had to be carefully to put away our shoes or toys or they'd be dissected by Nutch.
One night, I left Molly on the floor in the living room. The next morning I found suspicious bits of stuffing in the hallways and was struck by horror when I went into the living room and found Molly disemboweled, her stuffing strewn all over the room and her music box cast aside.
I was devastated. But my sweet mom assured me that we could fix her and helped me put her stuffing and music box back into place. She showed me how to "do a little operation" on Molly and get her middle stitched up. I remember spending what seemed like hours stitching her up with the neatest stitches I could do.
Here's what Molly's dress hides.
I went to bed that night clutching Molly close and wound her up to sing me to sleep, as usual. But the music didn't work. I was so sad. I prayed that the music would start working again soon and went to sleep.
The next morning, I noticed a little plastic box under one of the living room chairs, picked it up, turned it over a couple times and realized that it was just the size to fit over the workings of the music box inside Molly Bear. Darn it! I'd sewed the music box back into the bear without putting this case on it and now the stuffing was probably messing up those little wheels and delicate cogs. Rather than being grateful that I'd found the answer and could now fix the problem, I just felt mad that I hadn't found this thing earlier and did NOT want to cut the bear open again and do all that sewing again to fix the music box.
Then I had what seemed like a terrific idea.
I'd recently had a lesson in church about how Jesus really listens to our prayers and can do miracles. I could just pray that Molly's music would start working again and everything would be fine!
I prayed, harder than I'd ever prayed before. I prayed every night and many times during each day for about a week.
But Molly's music still wouldn't work. Didn't Jesus care?
Well, I learned a lesson from Molly.
Jesus will help us find the answers - but he won't do all the work for us. He helped me find that box that needed to be put back over the music box workings. He helped me realize what it was and what needed to happen. But then I didn't feel like doing my part. I didn't want to do all that sewing again. I just wanted Jesus to take care of the whole thing for me. But that's not how He works. He knows that it's good for us to do our part. He's always right there, waiting to help extend our efforts. But He won't enable our laziness.
Sadly, by the time I figured this all out, Molly's music box was already hopelessly tangled in the stuffing and I never did get the thing to work again.
I've told this story to my kids again and again. The twins ask for the story of Molly Bear all the time. And last week, when we were up in Salt Lake, I went back to my house to get a few things and found Molly Bear. My twins were so thrilled to see the actual heroine of the story and insisted that she tell them her whole story in her own words. So of course, she obliged. And trying not to feel too silly, I helped Molly tell the story to my audience of big-eyed, attentive listeners who each had to give Molly a long hug at the end.
They asked if we could find her a new music box and fix her. And I said sure. I guess it's never too late to fix things. And I discovered another reason why Jesus didn't fix Molly back when I prayed for it long ago. She needed to stay un-fixed so I'd have this story to tell my kids.