The Muppet Movie is 40.

Steve pointed out this NPR read to me this morning. We both smiled, as he forwarded it to me and to Shannon (we were sure it would make her smile, too).

kermit

I didn’t have time to read it right away, but thoughts came to mind about writing a blog about it. Something in the line of my “Listening for God on Broadway” or “Listening for God in the Movies” themes.

And to be honest, didn’t you start humming “Rainbow Connection,” hearing banjos and Kermit’s nasally voice?

rainbow connection

When I eventually read the article, I thought it was brilliant. Click HERE if you want to read (or listen) to it.  So many memories came flooding back, and yes, I continued to smile. I even joined Steve in some laughter.

I think that’s part of the point of the movie. Keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep living. As the first line of Rainbow Connection asks: “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what’s on the other side?”

Indeed.

Why are we waiting for “the other side?” Why do we find it so hard to really live, each and every day?  We talk about that a lot in theology. The Kingdom of God is a “here and not yet” discussion to me. Yes, there is the promise of eternal life, and the promise of something so much better than where we are now.

But that doesn’t mean we are just sitting around, waiting for that day or time or season. My faith in God – in that promise – helps me to live a better life, here and now, because I have faith that the promise has been, is, and will always be fulfilled. And part of that is not just living for myself, but living for others, helping in whatever way lifts them out of their struggles. Living, to me, means knowing joy and pain, and knowing that God is in the midst of each, and of everything in between those two extremes.

It’s because of my faith that I can respond to God’s call to act now, with confidence and without fear. As we hear Kermit sing:

“Have you been fast asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls
The young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that i’m supposed to be

Someday, we’ll find it,

The Rainbow Connection

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.”

That, my friends, is God calling your name. And God is calling, asking that you be all you are supposed to be, as children of Light. As you celebrate The Muppet Movie turning 40, remember the important lesson found in the last lines of the movie:

lifes like a movie

Don’t be afraid to live your life,  to hear and respond to God calling you to do something new.  Someday, you’ll find it: The Rainbow Connection.

 

Note: Images may be subject to copyright. The Muppet Movie and Kermit the Frog are trademarks of The Muppets Studio, LLC, owned by The Disney Company. Music and lyrics to The Rainbow Connection were  written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher,

Letting Go of Fear

In April, 2014, Disney’s latest blockbuster “Frozen” opened in its final market (Japan), and global sales pushed close to the $1.1 BILLION mark.   First day DVD and Blue Ray sales, including presales, hit 3.2 Million, escalating in May to over 10 million sold.  The animated feature was nominated for several industry awards, taking home Oscars for both “Best Animated Feature Film” and “Best Original Song”  for Let It Go.

What is it about this song that resonates with so many of us?  Is it the catchy tune?  The lyrics?  Read these lyrics with me; sing along if you can:

“It’s funny how some distance, Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me, Can’t get to me at all.”

What are you afraid of?  What’s your greatest fear?  Public speaking, heights, spiders, the dark…..so many things make us uncomfortable.  But this song isn’t about the more common phobias; no, this song …. yes, this film….reminds us that when we embrace the passion that God has put inside each of us, we have nothing to fear at all.  Take a step back, look at the big picture, and know that God is there, through it all.

Psalm 27:1 reminds us of the same:  The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27 1

I don’t always remember this.  I am afraid sometimes.  Change is never easy, but we all encounter it.   Yet when I walk down those unknown paths, to a new adventure waiting, I have God beside me every step of the way.  Holding on to that comfort makes it so much easier to let it go.

 

“Go Ahead….Make My Day”

This quote is familiar to many of us….from the 1983 movie Sudden Impact, starring Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan.  ‘Dirty Harry,’ as he’s called, is issuing it as a challenge.

I received another challenge today from one of my favorite authors:  Andy Andrews.

In his blog post today, Andrews shares his thoughts on those special people who ‘make our day,’ just by doing the small things in a joyful way.  The person who shines your shoes, the clerk at the grocery counter, the receptionist at your client’s office….or us, as we answer the phone.  I remember a sign that was posted over a clerk’s head in a city office where I was meeting one day;  “Be Nice, Because Nice is Important.”

The Epistle of Ephesians speaks to this in Eph 6:7 (The Message): “And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.”

Here’s Andy’s story: http://bit.ly/1dXRnds

Hope you accept the challenge and recognize a joyful person in a surprising way today!

Whatever is True, and Worthy of Belief



                                

The movie, “Secondhand Lions” has been showing on one of the Dish Network movie channels this month.  It’s a coming of age story, told by Walter, a young boy whose uncaring mother drops him off to live with his eccentric great uncles.  The first time I saw the movie, I was pulled into the character Hub, played by Robert Duval.  While both of the uncles had their share of adventure in their youth, it is Hub’s story that is shared in bits and pieces through the movie.  

Robert Duval picks the greatest movie roles.  Or maybe they pick him.  Duval crafts an apparently cynical and discontented old man, but through the storytelling in the movie, we learn of Hub’s true character and passions – the truth he holds dear.  We learn this as he shares his credo with young Walter, at a time when everything appears to be falling apart for Walter:

“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.”   -Hub, “Secondhand Lions” (2003)

How very much like this other man whose lessons I’ve come to admire:  Paul.  Recall that ‘Paul’ is the converted Christian, formerly known as ‘Saul,’ who despised and disciplined disciples of Christ.  He had his share of cynicism and discontent!  Upon his miraculous conversion to Christianity, Paul shared many stories, letters, and credos.  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul sums up for us how we can find peace:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  (Phil 4:8-9, NIV)

In each of these lessons, we hear that love is the answer.  My life is better when I believe in the good.  When I think on these things, I remember that God has made each of his children with a good and loving spirit.  That we are human, and sometimes veer off course – that is a daily challenge: for ourselves and for how we live with others.

At this annual time of renewal, I encourage you to think on these things.  As noted by John Wesley, we hold dear certain duties to ourselves and to each other:

True — In speech
Honest — In action.
Just — With regard to others.
Pure — With regard to yourselves.

When I think on these things, I renew my commitment to love according to the example of Christ.  I renew my hope in humanity:  that we will do what is right, what is true, what is honest, what is just, and what is pure.  For ourselves, and for each other.  And I am at peace.  Because those things are worth believing in.

Happy New Year, to my friends.

Steel Magnolias. How Quaint.

Why Steel Magnolias?  Every seen or read the play?  Seen the movie?  Steel Magnolias is a story of friendship and relationships:  between mother and daughter, among friends, and with ourselves.
I’ve determined that at one point or another in my life, I can relate to any of the characters.  Take for example, Ouiser.
 Now this is a woman after my own heart.  She tries so hard to be gruff, and at the same time, to do those things that are typical of a Southern Lady.  She’s so outspoken and curt to people, she’s managed to run off 4 husbands.  (Me, I managed to snag the one who will put up with me for a lifetime).   And, true to my heart, she loves football.  She succeeds at being the group pessimist, only to come out later as the old softy who can have her feelings hurt, and one who prays for those who need it most.  I especially like her relationship with Clairee.
Clairee brings Ouiser down to earth.   Clairee is from old money.  She’s a widow who’s looking for her late in life adventure.  She finds it when she purchases the local radio station!  She’s a die hard and fierce friend in times of need, and she understands the value of laughter and keeping things light.  She’s also willing to try anything at all, at least once, no matter how late in life.  I am lucky to have a Clairee in my life.  I couldn’t live life without her.  And I hope you have one, too.
Annelle, I have decided, has one characteristic that I struggle with daily:  moderation.  With Annelle, it’s either 100% on or 100% off.  She’s either drinking and smoking; or she’s praying at a church revival.  Towards the end of the movie, she has learned enough to tell her husband to “lighten up.”  But I can tell you, certainly, I have shared in her struggles.  Even so, her heart is in the right place, and I hope, even on my worst days, those who know me can say the same about me.
Truvy – I love Truvy’s lines in the movie.  They say so much about her.  “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  “I’m just fightin’ with my husband, I can do that anytime.”  “When it comes to pain and suffering, she’s right up there with Elizabeth Taylor.”  Truvy has that gift of gab, and reminds me of sitting at the kitchen table with my aunts and cousins in Arkansas, spinning a story of ” ‘member when…..”.  Which is why I like her so much.
But the most intriguing relationship to watch is that between mother and daughter.  M’lynn and Shelby.
These two can go at it, that’s for sure.  I don’t know if the relationship reminds me more of the one I have with my mother or the one I have with my daughter.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so intriguing.  I can see me, the daughter that I was and am, in the stubbornness turned to friendship.  And I can see myself in the motherly Sally Field who only wants her daughter to be happy and will go to great lengths to ensure that it happens.   I know there are days that I drive my daughter insane, and vice versa.  And I wait, with as much patience and love that I can muster, for the day that she returns to me, seeing me not with horns growing out of my head, but with adoringly proud eyes for the woman she has become.  I understand, though she is only 17 now, I’ll get her back when she’s about 22.  But she’s well on her way.

I can’t wait.  Until then, I’ll shed my tears as another Steel Magnolia.