Turner Brown

Back in the 1990’s, Jody and I bought a light brown stuffed bear, about 18 inches tall.  Jody named him Turner Brown.  He has sat in our bedroom for many years.  After Jody died, I got closer to Turner.  I’m sad to admit that the two of us had often gone weeks between our chats.  No longer, though.  Turner and I talk every day, just like Jody and I do.

A few weeks ago, I went on a 9-day meditation retreat in Massachusetts.  More recently, I spent four days in Belleville.  There was no question each time … Turner Brown was coming with me.  I packed my suitcase, carefully placing my friend on his back on top of the clothes, and shut the fabric cover.  I prayed that Turner could breathe okay.  It turns out that he was fine.  There was a little bump pressing out from the suitcase.  I don’t think anybody noticed.

In my room in Barre, Turner sat on a chair.  In Belleville, I created a place of honour for him on a chest-of-drawers.  In our bedroom, it’s a chair again.  Every morning, I sit in front of Turner and make eye contact.  He seems comfortable with that.  I put my hand on his fuzzy head and say, “Turner Brown … … All beings everywhere.”  And I think of all of us, how fragile we are, how we need love.  Then I take my right hand and draw the outside of my fingers down his left cheek.  It’s one of my favourite gestures.  He gets it.  I hope all people do.

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