Remember the Land of the Forgotten and the Lost? There was a time, long before Gingwiggle revealed the Polka-dot Clown to Pink Bear and White Bear, when the Clown had to decide about his journey to Computsalem. Far north of Computsalem, beside the Fishtank Sea, the Polka-dot Clown gathered his friends to discuss the purpose of the journey. All his friends were at the meeting. The Polka-dot Clown made a simple request. He said, "Come, follow me!"
The Clown was barraged with questions. Rocky the lion wanted to know why. Friggle the bean-bag frog asked where. Bella Bobbydoll was concerned about when. Charlie, the cardboard dummy, wanted to know how. There was a pause and Friggle asked, "What's this journey going to cost?"
The cardboard dummy clicked his eyes at the Clown and stiffly said, "Polka. What reward is there?"
The Polka-dot Clown smiled. He spoke softly with love. "Why? Because I ask you to do it. Who else can show you the Great Maker?" Rocky started to speak but Polka looked at Friggle and said, "You want to know where? I'll tell you. We journey to freedom from the knots of our self-assertion and selfishness. They tied us down." Bella Bobbydoll giggled. The polka-dot Clown frowned. "This is serious Bella. The time is now." Polka's cap flopped to one side as he faced Charlie. "I'll tell you how my friend! You'll follow me with forgiveness, faithfully, without causing expense to others. You will serve others. You'll carry heavy loads." The Clown's eyes sparkled with a quick glance at Friggle. "The cost of the journey is yourself!" Polka spun about and spoke with a firm voice. The words shook the cardboard dummy. "The reward is life. Forever Life!"
The Polka-dot Clown proceeded to make their destination clear. He set the direction they could take. He explained how they needed light and good sight, explaining the nutrition needed for the journey. The Clown pointed out the necessity of selectivity and navigation. When Rocky said it would be a good idea for everyone to study and examine the journey, and to talk with Polka each day, well; the Polka-dot Clown smiled broadly and said, "Ah! The journey has already begun. Come. Follow me!"
Gingwiggle said this was a good Lenten story.
Dear People of God,
The Computer-game boomed its deep electronic voice, "What is it that you want for this land?" The Polka-dot Clown stood in silence. The Clown was surrounded by tin robots. "Answer me, Clown!" The huge electronic game's speaker sputtered. There was a low hiss and the crackling voice spoke once more, "You do want this Glass Castle to be active? Do you not?"
The two tin robots pulled upon the Clown's arms. The head of the stuffed red and white polka-dotted clown doll snapped upward sharply. The red clown hat flipped its pom-pom back over Polka's right shoulder. His pale white face stared up at the face on the machine's screen. The words came slowly but firmly from the Clown's mouth. "I want for the Glass Castle what the Toymaker wants."
"So do I!" boomed the electronic voice. "So we will fill this place with sparkling activity. Thus all the toys, all the objects of this land, will be gathered here. They will use their resources at my command. I shall have them dance, make sounds and light. Then the Toymaker will have what he wants. He will then have the activity in the Glass Castle for which it was built."
The Polka-dot Clown smiled. "Will he? And what will you be doing at that moment?"
There was a brief moment of static and hiss from within the Computer-game. "I will oversee the activity. The robots and all the tanks and machines will help monitor the event. It shall be so!"
The Clown's face continued to smile. "I understand," the Clown said. "Oversee. Monitor." The smile vanished. "Will you participate at the same time?"
"Participate? What nonsense is this? Machines and grand electronic wizardry like myself do not participate. We monitor. We keep watch. We see that activity goes on."
The Polka-dot Clown shook his head. The pom-pom on the hanging tip of his hat swung back and forth. There was sadness in his voice, "activity does not make a glass castle. Activity will not change the forgotten into the remembered. activity will not make one toy or object in this land feel cherished. When a toy or object serves the purpose for which the Toymaker made it, then it is remembered! Then it is cherished!"
"What is this babble?" screamed the Computer-game.
"When we are once again cherished, appreciated, prized, treasured, valued, fostered and tendered by human hands, then the Glass Castle will sparkle. When did you last cause a child's eyes to shine? When did you last gladden an adult heart?" Polka's eyes stared at the Computer-game like no other doll ever made.
The hiss and static grew ferocious, "Are you questioning me, Clown?"
"I am. Who values you and your electronic circuits? Whose voice vibrates through your speaker? You are not what the Toymaker made. I see a dark capped shadow somewhere behind you."
"Aaaaah," screamed the dark crackling voice. It boomed through the speaker, "Put him between the bamboo poles. Shred him! Tear him! dump him in the garbage pail!"
Friggle, the bean-bag frog, paused and looked at the two teddy bears. The frog's beady button eyes were all fogged up. He said to Pink Bear and White Bear, "That's how it happened. One thing we understand. Toys and things such as we, were not created by the Toymaker to be mere playthings. No! We were made for the wondrous purpose of allowing shining sparkling Glass Castles to flame in the human heart. If we do not serve that purpose we end up here, uncherished. That is why it is called the Land of the Forgotten and Neglected."
"Ooo! It does feel good," Pink Bear signaled his teddy bear thought to White Bear, as Joey picked him up. White Bear giggled an agreeing thought wave.
Joey and Andy entered the building behind their parents, holding their teddy bears tightly. The candles and flowers made the building appear beautiful. when the two boys with their teddy bears entered the center aisle, the building trembled. The floor seemed to quiver with excitement.
Dear People of God,
It is the first day of spring, and what a beautiful day it is. There is a reason for stating this. Spring is the season of new life. The message, the Good News of Easter, is the new life won for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is difficult to fully express the overwhelming joy of this victory in clear, precise terms in order to have all of you caught up in the feelings and emotions commonly expressed as accompanying this primary Christian Feast. The feelings of Easter that grip me are akin to the experience of a walk in the bright warm sun on this first day of spring. It is like the color of the crocus breaking the earth surrounding Saint Thomas' and the Rectory. Easter sounds like the birds singing upon bare branches that hint of green leaves still in the bud. The air smells fresh and clean. Beyond the feelings exists a cause and meaning. How does one communicate the full impact of the cause and meaning?
Towards this purpose I try to turn my pen into a sword to cut away all things, seen and unseen, that keep us from the vision of Easter. I dream about all of us tasting the new life, being someone like Zacchaeus. We climb down from the tree and enter our homes with Jesus. Accompanied by Him we experience joy through the realization of self-esteem, born of a new knowledge of our worth to the Living God. Forgiven, we burst into a flaming desire to give away half of what we possess; we race like a prairie fire to repay four times over wherever in self assertion we have cheated anyone of the life God wants for them.
There is a childhood excitement to be felt. It is to shake with anticipation of being with others at a party. That is why you have received all the tales about the Limpock. A Limpock is a Keeper of the Doors to a human heart and mind. You have received the highest compliment and gift this writer knows. You have shared the experience of Gingwiggle who is an intimate and very personal Limpock. Hopefully, through the tales he spins and weaves you may experience not only feelings, but meaning and purpose of new life.
The meaning is not created in the mind behind the door that Gingwiggle keeps. Gingwiggle would say, "I show you other worlds so that you may have closer glimpses of His Majesty."
Spring, crocus breaking the earth, Zacchaeus coming down out of the tree, or Pink Bear and White Bear discovering the Polka-dot Clown's experience with the Computer-game through Polka's friend Friggle the bean-bag frog, are all the same truth. The Holy Spirit works in mighty and wondrous ways. The Holy Spirit works to reveal God the Father, to have us experience the life He gave us in His Son Jesus Christ. I cannot deny the Holy Spirit the use of Gingwiggle and the worlds the little green fellow shows me, as long as those worlds reveal something of the Easter joy. Joy, I want to share with you.
Maybe. Just maybe, you will feel the building tremble with excitement when your feet touch its center aisle on Easter. Who knows? Maybe you will feel the great padded paws of C. S. Lewis' "Aslan" tread your heart, or feel the hair of a golden mane brush gently across your cheek. It would please His Majesty, the Emperor of Awria, the Toymaker, the Polka-dot Clown very much if you would share their joy and mine on Easter Day by Breaking Bread together in celebration of the Resurrection. Let us share the New Life.
THE LITTLE BRICK BUILDING
One day, while wandering in the Land of the Forgotten and Neglected, Pink Bear and White Bear found Friggle the bean-bag frog drooping over the edge of a book. Pink Bear and White Bear were quite anxious to find Gingwiggle. White Bear turned the corner around the edge of the book and bumped into two green, flower-freckled skinny legs dangling down from beneath a wide glum mouth. "Dear me! Dear me!" exclaimed White Bear when he bumped into the sagging frog.
"Glug. . . groan. . ." was the reply.
"The same to you! Dear me. Dear, dear me."
"And I asked what the journey was going to cost," mumbled Friggle.
"We don't understand what you're talking about," blurted Pink Bear as if he and White Bear were the part of something bad in the frog's mind. After the teddy bears managed to introduce themselves, they discovered Friggle was one of the Polka-dot Clown's followers. He was extremely dejected and continued to groan about the price of a journey. "What's all this mumbling about cost?" asked Pink Bear.
Friggle's beady eyes clicked down toward his stuffed toes. He told the two teddy bears about the little brick building. "We came upon it early one morning. It had colorful windows and a tiny flickering light on top of its roof. You know! Like one of those toy police cars that always whir around corners knocking over unfortunate bean-bag frogs."
"So what happened?" Pink Bear asked impatiently.
"Well," sighed Friggle. "Polka leaned over that red building and cried. He really cried! You know how difficult that is for us stuffed toys."
"Dear me! Dear me, yes!" exclaimed White Bear. "Our eyes usually just manage to fog up a wee bit. It is very hard being a mere plaything and not being taken seriously all the time. Besides, how do we toys let our emotions out?"
Friggle frowned at White Bear's steering the subject away from the matter of his story. He snickered, "We fall into this land." That startled White Bear. After a pause, Friggle continued, "I mean Polka really cried. Actual wet tears mind you. We asked him what was wrong." Friggle sobbed a little and said, "He told us that the little red brick building had fallen out of the same world that we had fallen."
"Everything in this land of the Forgotten and Neglected fell from that place," the bears replied in unison.
"Indeed!" exclaimed Friggle. "That is exactly what Rocky, that over-stuffed lion said to Polka. It made our beloved Clown weep more. He wept and said, 'The building isn't a toy!'"
"Dear me! Dear me! Not a toy?"
"That's what Polka said," moaned Friggle. "He said it was a real building. Polka shook his head back and forth. His tassel and pom-pom swayed like a sad pendulum." The bean-bag frog stared at his own lumpy feet. "He told us that the building belonged to the Toymaker. The tenants were supposed to care for the building by sharing the cost of its maintenance. The tenants were supposed to use the building for conversation with the Toymaker."
"So what happened?" interjected Pink Bear.
"Well. Polka, between tears, told us they used the building to suit themselves and they argued. Some tenants said the Toymaker should look after the place. Others who said they loved the Toymaker grew tired of carrying all the weight of the maintenance."
Friggle shifted his weight and continued. "Polka said that the Toymaker allowed the little building to fall into the Land of the Forgotten and Neglected. Rocky, the over-stuffed lion roared a complaint of how unfair that was to those who loved the Toymaker." Friggle sighed deeply. "I tell you, Polka cried harder. Bella Bobbydoll asked Polka why a real building should end up here with us toys and things. He had the saddest eyes when he answered her. He said, 'The tenants not only forgot and neglected the little brick building, but who owned it. They forgot the purpose.'"
Pink Bear stood up straight and nodded his head. "Makes sense if I take the name of this land seriously."
"The strangest thing of all is what Polka said last."
"Dear me! Do tell us what that was, " exclaimed White Bear.
"He said it was one of his favorite buildings. Now isn't that odd. Imagine! A doll, a Polka-dot Clown in this land of forgotten and neglected toys and such, crying over and weeping over a mysterious real building."
"Did the Polka-dot Clown do anything about it?" asked Pink Bear.
Friggle shrugged, "He mentioned something about later after the change." Friggle sobbed, "who cares anyway? Polka was torn to shreds and thrown away. that's all that matters!" Friggle collapsed in sadness.
Pink Bear and White Bear stared at one another and said in unison. "We care! Where is the little brick building?" They grabbed Friggle and forced the reluctant bean-bag frog to take them there. They arrived just in time to see a Spotted Leopard carrying the building up into the air. White Bear looked down at the bean-bag frog, "Friggle?"
"Glug, gump," came the awed sad reply.
"Polka did care. He did take care of it." White Bear paused. "The Polka-dot Clown cared. So do I!"
Dear Theophilus of St. Thomas',
Gingwiggle, the Lord of the Keepers of the Doors of the heart and mind stopped by my study this morning. The Limpock was animated as ever. His pale green face was alive with that thin white crescent smile when he asked, "What is the color of Christmas?"
I tried to ignore him, as usual, while his right leg wiggled and dangled over his left knee. I responded, "Green, red, gold and white I suppose."
All thin two feet of him shook with laughter. I frowned as his brush-like grayish green eyebrows rose. "White isn't a color," He snickered.
"Technically, yes. But try telling that to most people. Besides it's the color of the vestments and altar hangings. . .You're not going to catch me in one of your word traps!" I stared at those gleaming yellowed eyes with the ebony pupils. "White is Christmas because it is purity of love. It is the fullness of God pushing back the darkness of sin. It represents how clean the Babe can make our hearts, souls and mind." I sat back in my chair full of satisfaction. Gingwiggle's eyes twinkled with amusement. "Well?" I asked. "Has the cat finally gotten your tongue?"
The Limpock roared a high pitched giggle. He tilted back his head in laughter. The little pointed green cap went askew and his silver spectacles fell down that bulbous banana-shaped nose. He straightened the cap, pushed the spectacles up the ridge of his nose and fell into solemn quietness. "You're correct," he said staring from the edge of the desk. "I repeat. White is not a color. The technicality is the point. You so easily misinterpret the sign that is white. What did Noah see in the sky? What did the long sleeved robe of Joseph look like?"
My mind was spinning and blurted, "Colors! Many colors of a . . ."
"The Rainbow," Gingwiggle smiled. "Like my friend Kermit sings, 'Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?'" The Lord of the Limpocks sounded soft and gentle. "Start with the primaries. Red for the blood the Child will shed. Blue for the sadness experienced. Yellow, the color of gold for the victory won. Mix them and stir them into royal purple, great green for growth and life, brown for the rich earth, orange for a drop of light. Put them all together and you have the fullness of His Majesty's love. The color of Christmas is the rainbow. May the rainbow of His Majesty's love color your heart when you see the Child in the manger." Gingwiggle had lowered his head as if he was praying. He looked up with that chiding smile and asked, "What color is Christmas?"
I responded, "The fullness of a rainbow; white!"
He said, "Tell Theophilus." He whispered in Spanish, "de colores," and disappeared.