I’ve been a fan of Winnie the Pooh since I was a kid. My own children each had a favorite character–which related well to the personalities they were growing into. Eeyore, Rabbit, Roo, Piglet, Tigger, and of course, Pooh.
Each generation finds delight in the story of a bear with a very little brain but a big heart. Pooh was everyone’s friend, and his gentle demeanor, to say nothing of his love for honey, made him a “sweet” companion.
Nolan loves the Winnie the Pooh characters. He’s way more a Tigger than a Pooh–bouncy, flouncy, and fun. But he has his moments of calm cuteness where you couldn’t imagine a more delightful child. His Pooh side comes out.
The thing with storybook characters is you can count on them to be who they’re presented as being. Their personalities are important to the narrative.
Not so with people. Nolan shows up as a rambunctious Tigger most days. When he’s moaning like Eeyore, his parents know he’s sick. If he’s more demanding, he becomes Rabbit.
And occasionally he’s Pooh, full of fluff and stuff, sweetness, and spice.
We’re not always what we appear to be. Each of our lives is multi-faceted, and choosing which piece of us to share with others depends on how we feel about ourselves at the moment, and often what everyone else is doing.
There’s also that tendency to want to be that person that everyone likes and wants to imitate. Be an influencer.
During the 11th century BC, Israel had been at war with the Philistines and was struggling as a young nation. The Israelites wanted a king who’d fight for them, who was kingly in appearance. Samuel, a prophet of the day, urged them to trust God with their protection, but they wanted to be like every other country, with a king who’d be for them.
There was a wealthy, influential man of the tribe of Benjamin who had a son who was kingly in appearance.
“His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel–head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.” 1 Samuel 9:2
His appearance impressed people, but he proved to be a poor king.
With Saul’s disappointing behavior, Samuel was sent to anoint a new king. Samuel was impressed with the oldest son of a man because of how he appeared.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7
God sees all that we are. We can’t fool Him, hide from Him, or run from Him. Everything about us is known.
God values our hearts–how we care for, love, and respect others.
The world may value how people look, but appearances fade. Our hearts are the true measure of who we are.
Much like Winnie the Pooh, a tender heart masked by stuff and fluff is still a heart full of care and compassion.
Even if it’s hiding behind a tummy full of honey.