Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I had the privilege in my early career days to meet the inimitable Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and a wildly successful businessman. Jim Henson made his puppets, breathed life into them and cared deeply about his work. I was in my 20’s when I met Jim, but had a long standing love affair with Kermit the Frog from my childhood. When we found out Kermit would indeed be making a guest appearance on our show, Reading Rainbow, my heart went pitter pat and I hoped to hear that little green frog say those iconic words “Heigh Ho, Kermit the Frog here…”
The set was busy that day. Sets are usually busy, dynamic places….They aren’t noted for the quality of thoughtfulness or the exercise of slowing. Jim Henson arrived quietly into the hubbub with his box of puppets and the wheelie thing he used when he got down on the floor to roll around while manipulating Kermit. One of my coworkers let the grand puppeteer know I was a Kermit groupie.
Then, a gentle green tap on my shoulder and and that voice that can’t be duplicated…”Heigh Ho, Kermit the Frog here…” The great Kermit addressed me like an old friend. What’s more, the great Jim Henson took a moment to make an ordinary girl’s day.
Here’s the deeper meaning for me. Jim Henson never got uppity or high falootin’ or above himself like so many folks who taste success. And my theory about the why is that Jim was always connected to his roots because he remained on the floor with Kermit. He was a prosperous, celebrated man who was ever reminded of where he came from.
Of course Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of “getting on the floor.” “Potentate of time, Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime” as the great old hymn says, He yet lowered Himself to the rough and tumble of a sinful, corrupt planet.
He bowed down low, though He reigns on high. The beauty of His character will be the praise of Heaven forevermore.
I cried when Jim Henson died. But I was grateful to have met him. He was an example of humility, a virtue so beautiful that every other virtue flows from it. I want to grow in that virtue every day…always knowing there’s so much I don’t know. And willing to serve in any way I can. I know I fall short of the mark. But Jim Henson proves it’s possible. May he rest in peace.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,