After kettlebells class, a much-needed shower and dinner, Ruby and I watched a show together.
I recognized the voices and animation immediately from the BBC’s “The Gruffalo”. Ruby and I spied that one several months ago.
For those of you who haven’t seen “Stick Man”(voiced by none other than “The Hobbit” himself, Martin Freeman), here’s the skinny. Stick Man lives in the family tree with his stick wife (I assume) and 3 stick children. They form a happy band. One spring morning, Stick Man decides to go out for a jog. He prances outside in the balmy clover. He runs down the hill. He helps a snail score a leaf. Then…a dog spots him. You can guess what happens from here. The dog, only too happy to have a self-throwing stick, grabs him with his mouth and carries him to his human. I suppose this isn’t a great advertisement for physical fitness.
“I’m Stick Man! I’m Stick Man! I’m me!” Stick Man protests, jaunty green leaf growing straight out of his head. In fact, this sort of thing happens over and over again. His only defense in every situation is to flop down on the ground and look inanimate. It never seems to work. Each time Stick Man escapes from one predicament, a small animal warns him of the next.
“Stick Man, beware the girl!”
This just before the girl plucks him up to use him to float in a stick-boat race down the river. Another child uses him as a sword. Another as a snowman’s arm, or a hook. See, Stick Man ends up out at sea and completely loses sight of the family tree.
A year of seasons pass by. He’s hiked through the snow, frosty and cold. He’s exhausted, yet still helps little creatures less fortunate. He overturns upended bugs. He plods on. Finally, he collapses on Christmas Eve, right in front of a small village.
A little girl picks him up.
“Look! A stick for the fire!” she exclaims.
Stick Man has the place of honor on the kindling pile. He dreams of home. Suddenly, he wakes to his situation. He hops out of the fireplace. Then something falls down the chimney. Black snow.
“Help me, I’m stuck,” a voice intones from above him.
Stick Man, still doing good though miles from home, lost and lonely, manages to edge Santa himself from the chimney. Santa falls to the ground in a cloud of soot.
“Stick Man! Thank you, thank you, endless thanks,” he says, shaking the tiny tri-fingered hand. He sees and he knows Stick Man on sight.
Santa turns to go, Stick Man standing behind him in awe. Then it all changes. He beckons for Stick Man to join him. They hop in the sleigh and Stick Man gets to help deliver the presents to sleeping kids.
Funny, but the kids getting presents look just like the kids who misused Stick Man not so long ago. The girl who pretended Stick Man was a sword gets a toy sword instead. The boy who used Stick Man as an oar gets his own, and on and on. Where Stick Man could have enacted his revenge on unsuspecting children, or stood off to the side, pouty and indignant, he pointed Santa to the best toy match for each. He served with joy. Santa proved even better to Stick Man himself. He brought Stick Man home to his little wooden family, the ultimate Christmas present.
I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of most cartoons. But this little gem had something to teach me. We’re all trying somehow to get back home. Keep the faith. Keep on doing good. Don’t hit back, even if you’re close enough to scratch eyes out with your splindly little twig arms. Love your enemies. All the good things Jesus wants us to do and to be. God knows you and He sees you, right where you are. Never forget it.