A Story Worth Hearing
In 1955, Elizabeth Henson, like any good mom does each year, cleaned out her clothes closet. She was determined to get rid of the items that didn’t fit anymore, had gone out of style, or had simply gotten too tattered. Eventually she came across an old, fuzzy lightweight green jacket that had gone out of style and was a bit frayed. She never wore it anymore, and it had definitely outlived its usefulness.
Elizabeth had no sooner thrown it in the giveaway pile when her college age son came into the room and asked to have it. She was dumbfounded as to why he would want such an ugly, worthless item. It didn’t make sense, but she gladly handed over the green coat.
That’s when her son, Jim (that’s right….Jim Henson!), started creating. With a unique creative vision, he used scissors, needle, and thread to craft and design a character that would become timeless to many generations. He cut a ping pong ball in half for the eyes and created an American icon that would go on to date a prima donna pig, sing an Oscar nominated song, and impact millions of children and their parents.
That old green, fuzzy coat became Kermit the Frog (with Jim Henson as the voice)! And Kermit touched the heart of so many who identified with the lyrics to the song that became associated with him.
It’s not that easy being green; Having to spend each day the color of the leaves. When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold- or something much more colorful like that. It's not easy being green. It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky. But green's the color of Spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree. When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful! And I think it's what I want to be. (By Joe Raposo)
In the beginning of the song, Kermit laments that he is not something more special. He doesn’t stand out. He’s passed over. He’s lost his flash and sparkle, if he ever had one. But by the end of the song, he sees how truly special he is and embraces it.
That’s exactly what Jesus loves to do…take the fuzzy, flawed, broken, worn out, seemingly useless and breathe new life into them. God can take the imperfect, the frayed, the broken, (and often smelly) and redesign us into something mind-blowing…excited, content, and with a new purpose. We are never too old to have that happen! We just have to be willing to give up our “green jacket” and let him go to work at creating something mysterious and purposeful that is honoring.
At times, we all feel banged up. Banged up by betrayal, failure, depression, loneliness, wrong choices, bad health, financial troubles, and broken dreams. It reminds me of the movie, Seabiscuit, when they were getting ready to put the injured racehorse down with a bullet because they believed he’d never race again, and the stable hand yells, “Stop! I’ll save you a bullet. I’ll take him.” The owner asked him why, and the stable hand replies, “Because I can. Just because someone’s banged up a bit doesn’t mean he isn’t worth anything.”
I’m willing to bet we can all “race” again when God redesigns our hearts. It’s called redemption and grace. It’s called a second chance. We can be encouraged by the words in Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”
We can all learn from Kermit and the character that Jim Henson imbued to him from that old green coat. If you’ve ever watched Kermit, he often feels lonely and different. But he is persistent, resolute, and determined to persevere. He is always loyal and encourages his friends to believe in his simple dream…to make everyone happy through singing and dancing. He loves teamwork and cultivates friends, helping them when he can. He accepts failure, but he never stops trying. Eventually, even Miss Piggy is swayed by the dream as they sing together in the song, Rainbow Connection, “What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing? And what do they think we might see? Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection…the lovers and dreamers and me.”
Perhaps you need to hear this. Or perhaps someone you care about needs to hear this. Don’t ever give up! Don’t ever think it can’t get better! Don’t ever think you’re on the downhill slope to becoming useless. When you walk with God, your hopes and dreams are renewed and there are new adventures around every corner!
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Anne Hope is the award winning author of Bent Pages...a sharp, funny, and deeply inspirational narrative. Kindle version of the award winning, "Bent Pages" is now on sale at Amazon! Click on the link below to take you there.
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