By now, the morning ritual has become one that I can almost do by rote: wake up - make coffee - get Kai's orange juice - get his vitamins and medication ready - potty break - cut on the television - find the Disney Channel - sit on the couch and cuddle with him for a few minutes. And like many toddlers, Kai finds comfort in this and other routines, even when the routine involves viewing an episode of a cartoon for the nine hundredth time.
But for whatever reason, while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse this morning, I had a caffeine-deprived epiphany about something which has been bothering me for the longest time: Namely, why doesn't Mickey Mouse just tell Pete where to get off, since this is HIS clubhouse after all.
|(c) 2012 Walt Disney Corporation. Duh.|
If you are unfamiliar with this scenario on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it goes something like this: Mickey, for whom said clubhouse is named after, routinely gets into situations wherein which Pete, his "arch enemy" (it's a cat-mouse thing), charges him for access to areas of Mickey's clubhouse or clubhouse grounds, usually asking for a payment in beans, buttons, or something of the like. Mickey coughs up the fee, typically paying for himself and for his friends, and Pete allows them to pass along to whatever destination they were headed for.
Now I don't know about you, but if some strange cat tried to make me pay for what was rightfully mine, I'd have no problem with telling or showing him exactly why I wasn't going to put up with his crap. After all, everything on the show is even NAMED after Mickey: the clubhouse, the park, the train, and so on. There's no question who is in charge here, and yet Mickey "lets" Pete get away with this time and again.
But this morning, it struck me: Mickey Mouse is Jesus.
Or rather, Mickey Mouse is the Christ figure in this computer-animated morality exercise about the nature of God's love for us.
And before you ask: no, I don't add anything except for sugar to my coffee.
Think about it like this: in the beginning, Mickey speaks the clubhouse and all the surrounding areas into existence. Prior to that, the area is void. He then invites others - Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto - into experiencing the beauty and enjoyment of the clubhouse, the park, and all else while he is with them. Mickey routinely has to remind Donald to have patience or to play fair, help Goofy find that which was lost, and to serve as a guide to Minnie or Daisy when they go on a journey or are on mission (respectively). Mickey even has Toodles to serve in the role of Holy Spirit (which I have written about before) to descend from above and provide tools - a helper, if you will - when he is called upon.
And there there's Pete. The analog to humanity. Pete the Cat, who in his ignorance and bluster, makes demands of Mickey - who, let's be honest, could call a legion of MousekeAngels to save him from the the machinations of Pete. The dude has comets and planets named after him, for crying out loud. Why should one cat be able to dictate the terms by which Mickey is to be allowed to move about and live in his own creation?
And yet...and yet, Mickey pays the price. In love and hoping that Pete will learn he doesn't have to set conditions on his existence in this world, Mickey acquiesces to what must be done. And if you have ever watched an episode of this show, you know that Pete - through blundering and missteps - more often that not learns a lesson in those 22 minutes of the episode that he need not be the way that he is, that he is welcome to and can join in the Hot Dog Dance. And yet, Pete will go back and time and again to his old ways. Mickey, who created all that Pete thinks he is in charge of, loves him enough to let him have the free will to choose to make mistakes time and again.
Granted, the God I serve doesn't speak in a high-pitched voice, nor to the best of my understanding does He run around in red shorts with yellow buttons. And yet...and yet He loves me enough to not dictate and demand the terms by which I live in His world. He sets the rules, yes, but He allows me to choose if I will live and love by them. He gives me the free will to choose to serve Him, to choose to act in His will. In love and with infinite patience, He gives me the grace to make mistakes to learn from. And to be forgiven of.
Granted, I don't quite think this spiritually-rich analogy is the life lesson the writers of this cartoon have in mind when they write out the episodes. Maybe they're just looking for a good product tie-in; maybe they're just looking for a cute educational moment. Maybe they're just looking for something that will fill a 22-minute programming gap.
Regardless - and even if I am pulling this totally out of left field - its still a beautiful illustration of how and what God can use to show Himself to us.
Next up: looking for the deeper spiritual relevance of Doc McStuffins.