TUT, TUT. WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE RAIN, OPEN A RED UMBRELLA AND LOOK FOR HONEY
Oh Say Do I See Metaphors and Meanings…Even in Disney. My daughter changes the channel to the end of a VHS, Winnie the Pooh and Friends. I love Winnie the Pooh. He is continually in search of hunny. I wish I could show you this in the endearing crooked letter way that Pooh and Christopher Robin write. Reminds me of some of my students’ not so fine motor skills. Yes, even in fourth grade.
Hunny is something to aspire to for so many reasons. My critical daughter says Pooh is just an addict. I have to think on this carefully. In this I own Pooh’s words, “Think, think, think,” and tap my aching head. Low blood sugar. I conclude, NO. He is too innocent for this thing. I simply think he is in search of that which is sweet. My Italian son’s best friend, also a missionary, only not in Italy, rather, in the Philippines, closes every email with “On the pursuit of happiness.” This is Winnie the Pooh.” This is me too.
In spite of being very Disney, and child targeted, this also appeals to an older audience in the children of the fifties and sixties. In this animation, I can’t help but see religious undertones. Isn’t this what the religious are about? Pursuing happiness? Some professing the joy, the love, the mercy, and the hope of Jesus in smiles and swaying arms? Yes, these Christians….evangelical ones, and the ones I know who sing on Sirius radio. They are overcomers. But then so am I.
I am better understanding the believers who “raise a hand.” This is NEVER done in my religious tradition. In this moment of Pooh-dom, I visualize these others outside of the their house of worship. On the lawn with palms up and outstretched, and palm leaves waving to the East awaiting a triuphant reentry to Jeruselem. Only here, in this context, they have hold of big blue balloons, much like Pooh’s. They are rising up, like the lonnnng string in their fingers awaiting a tug, and lift off. This launching them up, up, up like a hot air balloon into a greener Snyderville Basin, high over scratchy sagebrush and even bustling ski resorts. Wow! Through the leafy tree tops to a piece of “friendly sky.” Blue and all blown away from the buzz and sting of bees and blustery days. Away from semis and freeway noise. Up to the warmth of Jesus.
Eeyore says, “We’re all going to die.” Yes. Oh, sting of Death. Oh, sting of living too. The reality is…Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Tigger are all in a hole, not unlike every person who has lived, or who will live, or who choose to live without a Savior. We need not be afraid as some are.
The cartoon characters eventually dig their way out, rather, in following Pooh, their scatterbrained leader. Still, Pooh brilliantly, whether he knows this or not, climbs up a “letter ladder” to freedom. I think of what children need to learn at school, and in life. I am overcoming when I climb the letters in reading the Bible, and other volumes of scripture. When I listen to a favorite Pastor’s electronic broadcasts, and when I read some Christian blogs. I am overcoming when I shine and keep trying in spite of failures.
Then after a brief elation, Pooh and friends slip back to fearing the “Baxon” in the frightening sounds of the wood, the rustle of a bough, snap of a twig. This “Baxon” is a creation of their minds. Real, but not real. To the human family it is also real…in Satan, negativity, adversity…whatever you choose to believe and call it.
Then, like a hero, Christopher Robin appears. The sun shines again as he generates clarity. He presents a crudely handwritten note for all to see that says, “ I have gone out and will be “back soon.” I know such notes. The panic, the worry, and the despair were real, but all for naught. The truth is revealed in that OWL (ha ha) has MISREAD, or misunderstood this note. Proof to me that even the very wise can make mistakes or misunderstand at times.
The friends had assumed Christopher Robin had been taken and harmed by the “horrible Baxon,” a creature who turned out your lights and made babies cry. Not so. Christopher Robin was here in all his light and glory to rescue his beloved playmates. Owl’s mistake had been made in the “translation” of the note. The words “back soon” had somehow morphed into a terrible monster called the “Baxon.”
This is of course, a delightful bedtime story for children, but it is more. Just as the adventures of Peter Pan are more. The songs of redemption in Les Mis are definitely much more than just a performance and offerings to a grateful community. More than outward expressions of talent. They stir the inner workings and cogs of sometimes dormant hearts. Move us to activity and better clarity.
In spite of opening songs of Jean Valjean “looking down.” In spite of ourselves feeling his burden of 19 years, we can be moved to a conclusion or increased hope and commitment to doing good among men, women, children, animals…to all. Even at the damned barricade we can learn. In the beckoning of other loved ones who have passed on, like the Priest gifting silver, like Eponine, Fantine, and… friends in “empty chairs and empty tables,” we CAN be led to Christ, and rise up on wings. We can rise up, Iike the loft of a big, blue helium balloon in the chubby, little tubby, stuffed hands of Winnie the Pooh.
Oh, how I love good writing. How delicious is great literature regardless the audience. These stories are all for me, and you. I write myself into all of these and into my own stories. With Christ as a main character, there is alwuz hope, resolution, joy, and yes…