(A heartwarming story)
© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, hug, Tiny Hug, Christmas, love, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Your LDS Radio, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)
The birth of a hug is a mysterious thing. One minute there’s nothing and the next minute a small, tickle-y sensation grows in someone’s soul and the person just has to give it away.
That’s how it was with this hug. He started as a teensy impression, born in the heart of a two-year-old. With a smile, the toddler reached out and gave his sister a tiny hug.
When that happened, a warm feeling spread over the hug and he liked the sensation. But he also felt a wisp of sadness. I’m not certain I like this life—given away and moved from one person to the next, he thought. It means I can’t ever become too attached to anyone in particular.
It also meant he would never see his first owner again. His sweet little baby was gone from his life forever. Although Tiny Hug was only seconds old, he already felt blue … so he gave himself a talking to: Chin up! No one wants a sloppy, sorry hug. Time to get to work and become the best hug in the world.
And that’s just what he did—became the best hug in the world. Every time Tiny Hug acquired a new owner, he grew—sometimes by leaps and bounds.
The leaps and bounds happened once when he lived with a kindergarten teacher—a kind, sympathetic Latter-day Saint. One frigid winter day, she noticed a little girl on the playground wearing only a thin sweatshirt. The shivering child’s small hands looked chapped and red. The teacher brought the little girl inside, wrapped her own sweater around the poor thing and rubbed her hands until they were warm. The teacher’s love was so great that Tiny Hug grew twice as large as she gave him away to the little girl.
Another time, Tiny Hug found himself belonging to a soldier in Iraq. The Marine—a grizzled, military man—knew the horrors of war. His heart formed a shell around it, and Tiny Hug found it particularly hard to get in.
I’m not giving up, no matter how difficult it is, the hug thought with determination. He wiggled, twisted, and squirmed. Finally, Tiny Hug broke through.
This man is kind—but very, very afraid, the hug realized with surprise. So he worked all the harder on him.
The Marine didn’t realize he had a hug inside until one dark night, when shells fell in a blaze from the sky, and a nineteen-year-old near him dropped to the ground, wounded. The young soldier had so much to live for—a wife and new baby back home. The Marine couldn’t bear the thought of the young man lying there, all alone with no one to comfort him. He crawled to him, cradled the terrified, bleeding soldier in his arms and gave the hug away. And the young man lived.
Time went on. Tiny Hug (who wasn’t so tiny anymore) lived with many people over the years. He grew old, but never forgot his first owner. I wonder how my sweet baby boy is doing, the hug often thought.
Eventually, Tiny Hug belonged to a teen-age girl—a shy, sweet young lady. He’d lived with her for several days when one evening, he felt a whispery feeling that it would be his last night on earth. I love the girl, he thought, but oh, how I long to see the little baby who gave me away at the very beginning. If I could only see his bright blue eyes once more, I would contentedly accept whatever may come. And the hug wept.
That night—Christmas Eve—the young lady joined her Young Women’s group, and Tiny Hug went along, tucked in her heart. They drove across town, amidst snowflakes that fell, sparkling under the street lamps.
When they arrived at the nursing home, the young girl sang songs to the elderly, and Tiny Hug felt better. If this is to be my last owner, it will be all right. She always thinks of others and has such tenderness.
During the evening, the young lady focused her attention on an older gentleman who seemed sad and lonely. He wouldn’t even look up at the singers.
Sing your sweetest, the hug silently encouraged.
She did, but the man never looked up. Their performance over and the singers leaving, the girl put on her coat and started out the door. Suddenly, however, she turned and ran back to the lonely, older man. She threw her arms around him and he smiled a soft smile.
The hug felt himself slipping from the heart of the girl into that of the elderly gentleman—the one with the blue eyes—the one who, as a baby so many years before, had reached up and given his sister an unexpected embrace.
And in that instant, Tiny Hug realized something he never had before ... love always comes full circle.
What's playing in my head: Lots and lots of Christmas songs!
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