Call Me Ishmael


I was completely at a loss for what to write today.  I found WordPress’s and BlogHer’s prompts kind of lame, and as I’m sitting watching Downton Abbey (!!!!!!!) I couldn’t make up my mind on a topic.  Then I remembered that WordPress put out an ebook with a prompt for every single day of 2014, so I consulted it.  The topic for today was “Call Me Ishmael.”  The challenge is to take the first sentence from your favourite book and base your post around that.  At first, I decided that it too was lame.  But I went to my spare room where I keep all my books, searching for some sort of inspiration, and did I ever find some.

I don’t really have a favourite book.  I have many that I like very much, but I don’t truly have a favourite.  I have a copy of the book that was my favourite as a little girl, though.

So… first line:

WHAT DID THAT SAY?

My favourite book as a child was “The Monster at the End of this Book.”  It’s a Sesame Street book.

I think why I still love this book as an adult is because it’s so true to life.  The entire premise, if you didn’t watch the youtube video I linked above, is that Grover is freaked out because the title says “there’s a Monster at the end of this book.”  Every page that gets turned gets Grover more and more perplexed.  He’s terrified of the end of the book, because there’s a MONSTER at the end.

Spoiler alert:  You get to the end of the book, and Grover realizes that the Monster at the end of the Book…. is none other than him.  “Loveable, furry old Grover” is the monster at the end of the book.  He finishes by saying “I told you and told you there was nothing to be afraid of.”

You turn the final page, and Grover puts his hands to his forehead and exclaims, “Oh, I am so embarrassed.”

Isn’t that usually how this works?  We get ourselves all bent out of shape, and it turns out at the end that whatever it is that we were worried about wasn’t such a big deal?  Even if it is a big deal… and some things are… I won’t discount that… did we serve anything by the end of whatever it was by worrying incessantly about it?  Not usually.

In fact, Scripture is very clear about worry.  We’re not supposed to do it.  Grover’s just as sinful as the rest of us.

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:34  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6-7  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It’s pretty clear that this freaking out is not an effective way of dealing with life’s problems, at least not as a Christian.  And so, as I do love this book, I will someday use it as a platform to express to my children the silliness behind Grover’s worry, and I will let it give me an opportunity to tell them what Jesus wants from them on the subject.
And there we have it… a post turned into a sermon… inspired by the first sentence in a Sesame Street book.
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2 thoughts on “Call Me Ishmael

  1. I LOVED “The Monster at the End of this Book” as a kid! I had completely forgotten it all these years later, but I may just have to pick it up for days when adult-me needs a reminder from Grover about unwarranted worrying.

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