It All Started with Johnny Bravo
By Thelma Dade
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”
I have a two-year old Labradoodle named Bravo. He is a certified service animal, and was gifted to me by the organization I volunteer for, where I train new puppies as they come through my home. When I moved to Mexico, I knew there would be a learning curve for both of us. The first thing I learned when I got here is that Bravo means “Aggressive, dangerous dog” in Spanish, which Bravo is not at all! I walk down the beach calling, “Bravo!” and all the small children and many of the adults run away! As people began to get to know us, many of the men started to call Bravo Johnny Bravo. I didn’t get it, but I figured something was lost in translation, so I just smiled and let it go.
On New Year’s Eve, I wanted to have dinner in town, so I hired an Uber driver to watch Bravo for me while I had dinner, since I couldn’t leave him at home that night. That connection has proved to be one that God has used not only to help me with practical things like watching Bravo, helping get groceries, and gaining an interpreter for things like cell phone repair, but also for soul healing.
It all started with Johnny Bravo. The Uber drivers name is Alejandro, and he is the same age as my kids. We chat as we drive, and are getting to know each other as we run errands. One night on our drive back to the ferry, he began to talk to Bravo using the Johnny Bravo voice from the cartoon that was popular in the early 2000’s. Suddenly it clicked. I honestly had no idea why people called Bravo Johnny Bravo, and I didn’t remember that cartoon until I heard the familiar voice and the line from the show. Then it all came pouring back – all the hours spent hanging out with my son watching cartoons, playing games, putting puzzles together, and trying to beat him at video games that I was never going to conquer!
The next thing God used was a Dragon Ball Z reference, and then yesterday we were chatting about Alejandro’s son and some of the things ten-year-old boys do, and I said, “Oh, he is just being goofy.” Alejandro’s face lit up, and he cracked this huge smile and said, “I LOVE GOOFY!” and we both laughed out loud. Man, the things you forget when you are trying to block out all the trauma of life.
Last night, I sat on my patio listening to the ocean, drinking a cup of tea, and remembering. I haven’t wanted to remember things in a very long time, like the weekends at our cabin on Lake Shetek when we watched The Goofy Movie on repeat. We watched Duck Tails, and The Three Musketeers until I knew all the words by heart. I was no longer reliving the trauma. Thinking about my kids growing up didn’t make my heart squeeze tight and my throat hurt. Yeah, some tears fell, but not tears of regret and pain. I can hear their laughter again. I can see their smiles, and I can remember the good things.
I have spent thousands of hours soaking and actively getting my soul healed, intentionally ferreting out all the places that I knew were damaged, so I could live the life God wants me to live. But there are always those places that God wants to heal, even if we are not aware of them.
Johnny Bravo. Who knew? Who knew that something so random would be the trigger God would use to heal one of the biggest areas of my life? He is so good like that. Not only is He showing me the places that I need healed, but He is also showing me places that are already healed, and letting me enjoy them again!
What has God used in your life recently to help you get your soul healed? Maybe it is someone you walk past each day on your way to work, or a billboard with a message that only God knows will speak to you. I hope you find your Johnny Bravo moment this week, and that God brings to fruition everything that He has been working on in your soul!
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