Shabbat Shalom with a Heart Healthy Dose of Torah–Noach
“Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers the dreamers and me.” Kermit, the frog, loves Miss Piggy. Think about it folks. Jim Henson and his Muppets shattered stereotypical bigotry. Now, I know that the Muppets each represent one of his friends from college (I learned that while on a college tour). I do not want to venture so far as to assess who was a pig, who was a flaming yellow bird, or who might have been any of the characters, but I stay fascinated that he felt no need to cast his friends in monochromatic or monoanimalic (I just made up that word) characters. They could have all been terrapins or bears, of differing shades, but he went out on a limb to demonstrate the diversity that existed in his sphere of “friendhood.” So popular is the notion that Bert and Ernie are gay, that they have symbolically married in several “Gay Pride” parades across the country. Big Bird is at best, “flamboyant” and Fozzie Bear is downright obnoxious. Each character epitomizes some character trait and uses it to teach children how to better evolve into caring, compassionate, and intelligent young people. Any child (and adult) could watch the Muppet show or Sesame Street and feel included in the storyline and lesson plan. No one was excluded (including Big Bird’s imaginary friend Snuffy).
And then there is a frog deeply invested in a steamy, entertaining, and often complicated love relationship with a pig. This all is the rainbow connection; the love and respect that beings of all shapes, species, colors, genders, and sizes hold sacredly for each other. Similarly, the late Harry Chapin taught us, “There are so many colors in the rainbow, so many colors I the morning sun, so many colors in the flower, and I see every one.” Even depicting the still life of a flower provides an opportunity to bring the diverse blessings of the world into concert. Of course, the LGBTQ community sees the rainbow as its statement of inclusion. Everyone matters.
So, God created a rainbow for Noah as a sign promising never to flood the earth again. Knowing that the rainbow consists of diverse colors and shades across the spectrum, I cannot help but think that God is somehow recanting having condemned humanity. We really are all in this together.
Muppeteer and close Henson friend, Richard Hunt spoke at Henson’s funeral. He said, “It’s important that we all stop giving ourselves such a hard time. We’ve got to remind ourselves, and push ourselves, to let go – there’s not much we can do except to be, and in being, become aware. And that’s why Jim’s last words are most important: ‘Please watch out for each other,’ he says. ‘Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.'”
This week, we repopulate the earth, with God’s commitment that everyone and everything; every color on the spectrum matters. Apropos, I want to share the lyrics of one of my favorite Muppet songs, “Just One Person.”If just one person believes in you, deep enough, and strong enough believes in you … hard enough, and long enough, it stands to reason, that someone else will think “If he can do it, I can do it.” Making it: two whole people, who believe in you, deep enough, and strong enough, believe in you … hard enough and long enough. There’s bound to be some other person who believes in making it a threesome …Making it three people you can say: believe in me. And if three whole people, why not… four? And if four whole people, why not … more, and more, and more … And when all those people, Believe in you, deep enough, and strong enough, believe in you … Hard enough, and long enough It stands to reason that you yourself will start to see what everybody sees in You … And maybe even you, Can believe in you… too!”