Monday, September 22, 2008

Ohh Tubby...

Yesterday's Trombone Player Wanted film series reminded me of Tubby the Tuba, a favorite in our family archives. (I mean that black hole we call a garage.) Tubby is an animated tuba who comes to life in a song, book, musical score, and short film conceived during World War II by Paul Tripp. It has been performed by Carol Channing, Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke and others. I see it discarded in library basement book cellars but orchestras still perform it for family concerts. I can't figure out why it remains so obscure. To me, and fortunately my kids, Tubby rocks! He even has his own website.

After hearing it so many times, Reid does an uncanny impersonation of Carol Channing's peculiar voice. Whether consciously or subconsciously, something about Tubby resonated with him even at age 3. Of course, he responds to all things musical. I wonder whether he picked up on the underdog theme or the empowerment of embracing how God made you. Reid has developed into such an adroit critic of music and literature, that now we take his preferences seriously, as endorsements of quality. I love multi-dimensional resources like Tubby which instruct on so many different levels all at once: social skills, self-esteem, character building, and music education in a format that clicks even with young and language-impaired listeners.

You want the Cliffs Notes? Tubby is sick and tired of being a tuba. He longs to play the melody not just the oompahs from the back row. (Sound familiar?) He makes friends with Peepo the Piccolo and for a time, wishes he could sound like her (ie. play the high notes). Alas, he cannot. He is ridiculed by the rest of the orchestra, runs away, and meets a bullfrog who talks some sense into him. The wisdom of the bullfrog is that Tubby can only be Tubby and furthermore the orchestra needs him just as much as the piccolo or the french horn or the tympani. (No man is an island.)

Now, do you want to see the whole 9 minute movie?

Acceptance of our individual strengths actually honors God. Conversely, it can be a form of spiritual rebellion to wish we were different than God created us. I am much more healthy emotionally when I am content with my blue eyes, brown hair, relator strength and moderate house, than when I wish for black hair, brown eyes, a woo personality, and covet my neighbor's sporty convertible. Being content in who we are (and who our kids are) demonstrates that we trust Him. Trusting His Omniscience to know what's good, better and best is one way to worship Him.

Like Tubby, Jesus knows what it feels like to be despised, rejected, displaced, and undervalued. He also knew the value of a good story to engage and teach. His parables continue to challenge and inform for all who hear them.

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised , and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:2-4

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14-16

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Philippians 4:10-12

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit...If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 1 Corinthians 12:17

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