Several hours ago, I learned something that has blown my mind and rocked my world.  Never in a million years would i have thought that this could be true.  Apparently i’ve been in a bubble for 20+ years…or at least in a state of denial.  Tonight i learned that there are actually people in the world who HATE Winnie-the-Pooh.  

I could understand “dislike”.  Or maybe that particular bear not being someone’s favorite…but “hate” was the word my friend used when Pooh came up in casual conversation…and don’t act like you’ve never had a casual conversation about Pooh!  I hate poverty.  I hate animal cruelty.  I hate child abuse.  But hate Winnie-the-Pooh? I can’t even.

I’ve loved many cartoons from my childhood but none have i felt such an affinity for as i do for Pooh Bear.  As a child i found the gang in the hundred acre wood silly & sweet; but as an adult i see so much more.  I see this group of friends, some of them misfits, all with their strengths and weaknesses & quirks.  Frightened little Piglet, OCD Rabbit, free-spirited Tigger, Roo the optimist, gloomy good-hearted Eyeore, and simple-minded yet ridiculously profound Pooh Bear.  All of these various personalities somehow mesh together into the wisest, strongest group of friends…the weaknesses of one so complimentary to the strengths of another.

I probably read way too much into this simple cartoon.  But i can’t help but think of all the people that have touched my life over the years.  I’ve been an adventurous soul for as long as i can remember.  I’ve left the comfort & familiarity of my “hundred acre wood” many times.  Sometimes my adventures have been on another continents, sometimes across state lines…but every time without fail once i’ve settled into a new place i’ve met new, incredible, amazing people.  Some are very different than me.  All of them have their quirks.  And there have even been a few misfits along the way.  But regardless, I’ve managed to become stronger & wiser because each of them has entered my life.  And i feel so incredibly blessed to call so many of them my true, honest-to-goodness friends.

Maybe i’m biased when it comes to Pooh.  I’ll be the first to admit i’m the girl who cannot make it through the Heffalump soundtrack without going through a whole box of kleenex.  The second Carly Simon sings, “i think i feel more like myself when i’m with you” in the Shoulder to Shoulder song i dissolve into a puddle of i-miss-my-friends-who-are-scattered-all-over-the-globe mush.  It’s whatever, i guess.  All i know is that friendship has always lightened my load & brightened my skies.  On the gloomiest of days, when the time has come to say goodbye to the people i’ve cherished, gratitude is always the thing that is left behind in my heart.  Because, in the words of a very famous (and perhaps the wisest) bear who ever ‘lived’, “it’s so much friendlier with two.”

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