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Meaningful Reflections with Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks is a monthly column that provides words of encouragement for associates at USA Health.

Published Apr 4th, 2023

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Care Manager

Since I have the privilege of being the chaplain at USA Health University Hospital and USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital, I thought it appropriate to write a Meaningful Reflection this month for families with children. Included are two reflections to read with children. Buzzing and Nuzzling is about coping with loss of someone or something you love, with discussion questions at the end. Turtle Strength is a story for strength and hope. We never know what someone may be going through, and that includes children. Children begin to experience loss, anger, and sadness at very young ages, and often adults do not talk to them about their feelings.

A great way to talk to children is through examples and stories about animals. It is very true that we receive great comfort in animals, which I guess is why so many stories have been written about them. A great method of stress reduction is to watch a puppy chase a butterfly, or to see a cat staring at a grasshopper in wonder, or to have a bunny hopping through your flowers, or to hear a bird singing tunes outside of your window. We all have to admit we still hope to see a dolphin every time we go to the beach. Animals and nature are great gifts of coping for us. May I introduce my friends, Lolli Lamb, Dewey Deer, and Theophilus Turtle.

Buzzing and Nuzzling

The chestnut-bronze deer nuzzled against his snow-white woolly friend in the meadow.

Hundreds of yellow buttercups shielded them from the outsiders.

No one could see them.

Sunbeams reached from the blue sky to warm the sleepy couple.

Lolli Lamb lay her fluffy head on the fuzzy neck of her friend Dewey Deer.

No one could feel this but her.

Lolli grinned as she thought about Dewey’s white tuft of a tail sticking up as he protected her from Old Grey Bully Goat.

She giggled when she watched Dewey’s tail twitch back and forth. His tail looked like a bronze butterfly, with a tiny tuft of white on the tip of the wing. Just like a butterfly, Dewey’s tail seemed as if it was about to fly away.

No one saw this but her.

Dewey’s long legs running through the meadow, jumping over chilly streams and leaping through green thickets, were like fingers strumming a guitar.

His sweet and sad melody rang in Lolli’s heart as a symphony of songs.

Dewey’s sounds buzzed in her ear like the bees when they make golden honey and hummed in her heart like the sparrows when they welcome the orange sun over the crest.

No one heard his but her.

Dewey’s big brown, loving, longing, eyes pierced through Lolli’s sentimental soul.

Lollie kissed each of Dewey’s creamy eyelids, which told him “I love you too.”

Dewey flicked a red and black ladybug off the soft pink inside of Lolli’s ear.

No one knew Dewey like she knew Dewey.

She woke and realized she was dreaming of Dewey.

Lolli remembered that Dewey was not nuzzled beside her in the green field any longer, but rather on a journey in a golden faraway land.

A tear squeezed from Lolli’s jade green eye.

She felt a slight breeze and a chestnut-bronze colored butterfly dried her tear.

As he flew away, Lolli noticed the tiniest tuft of white on the tip of the butterfly’s silky wing.

Questions to ask:

  • Did someone that you love move away?
  • Perhaps someone you love died and you can’t see them or talk to them right now?
  • When you close your eyes, where do you imagine that you are with your friend or family member?
  • Draw a picture of the person or pet that you miss and love.
  • Tell a story about them to someone you love.
  • Write a story about them.
  • Remember that you will always have the people you love in your heart.

Theophilus the Turtle

I saw a turtle in the road yesterday.

A truck was coming toward the turtle.

I tensed as I hoped I wasn’t about to witness a smushing.

“Please, please don’t smush the turtle” I muttered.

I noticed the turtle's head stretched out of his shell … stretched further than any little turtle head I have ever seen!

I watched the big red truck drive over the turtle, oh no!

Whew, no smushing and the turtle never went into his shell.

While that massive truck drove over the little bitty turtle; he never winced.

He held his head out strong and tall through the whole horrifying ordeal.

I was stunned at the strength of this turtle. Wow!

Surely, if a little turtle can hold his head up high ... we can.

We often have circumstances which are very difficult and cause us to want to hide away rather than hold our heads up high and move forward.

Difficulty, challenge, and things that are truly not fair will overwhelm us, but we must strive to hold on to our strength and hope.

Next time you want to turn inside to your shell, remember my friend, Theophilus the Turtle, and hold your head up high.

Keep looking up and move forward while you journey down the road to new adventures.

Questions to discuss with children:

  • Have you had something that happened that made you so sad or angry and made you feel very badly?
  • Did you have a time that you felt like hiding instead of talking about how you felt?
  • Is there anything you would like to talk about with me right now?
  • Let’s draw a picture of something that makes us feel very strong.
  • Let’s write a story together.

May we all be blessed with the new life we see this spring and have hope.

Love starts with you and me,

Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks

Patients, family members and USA Health associates are encouraged to call the Meaningful Reflections Line at 251-445-9016 for a daily recorded word of encouragement.

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