A Bear Named Millard

While living in a townhouse in Buckhead, the historically posh community of Atlanta, I found my life inundated with a perpetual parade of my roommates’ unusual visitors and overnight house guests. It was a “Three’s Company” set-up of “twenty-somethings,” two females and one young man who had just inherited millions from a family trust fund. Naturally, he was the prime target for dozens of money-grubbing floozies who all eventually invaded our cozy little home, legally or otherwise. One, who kept breaking through the window, had to be removed by the police. The others just became a nuisance.

This was the early 1980s, when multiple relationships were still considered “safe,” cocaine was rampant, even at the hair salons, and life seemed to be one party after another without restraint! The Bible calls this “lasciviousness.” Looking back at all of it, I am in awe of God’s faithfulness. He kept me alive through what could have been a tragic demise at any early age.

My room was in the loft over the living room, so privacy was a benefit I could not enjoy. During those times when I needed to escape, there was always the basement, home to my beat up furniture from previous apartments and my big, scratched-up oak, coffee table. Many a night I hid down there, sitting on the floor in front of that old coffee table, sketching pictures with my colored pencils. I had just ventured into the world of free-lancing as an artist, and the future was terrifying to me, especially since I was whirling around with no plan for my life, no self-discipline and no money.

It was on one of those nights when I was hiding in the basement that MILLARD, the frumpy, good natured bear, was born.

I can honestly say that the character of Millard was born from some very deep part of me that I can only attribute to God’s goodness. He certainly had not come from my hedonistic lifestyle, but rather, from a place of goodness that I longed to re-experience. This frumpy looking bear with a heart of gold and an interesting sense of humor had sparked something within me, but never in a million years would I have guessed he would take thirty-five years to manifest into God’s true purpose. A Warrior of the King.