There are two main ways you can interpret the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie and carol. There’s the way my wife, Alyshia, interprets the song… you know, the normal way… or you can interpret it the way I do, which is the way that screws you up for life. The other day the song came up because I was making fun of it; why does it say, “You know Dasher and Dancer, etc.” and then ask, “But do you recall? The most famous reindeer of all?” That’s pretty dumb. If you know the other eight reindeer, the less known, you’re going to know the most famous reindeer as well; he’s the most famous (said with sarcastic, know-it-all disdain). That’s like saying, “You know 98 Degrees and BBMak, but have you heard of the Backstreet Boys or One Direction?” I’m not sure why boy bands were the first thing to come to mind. And yes, this is a pretty stupid point to be angry about, and that’s the blessing my wife has with me, especially since there’s always something to be unnecessarily upset about: “Want to have positive, affirming conversation or make fun of something? Perfect, me too. What’s with the name Rudolph? Of course he was picked on. He’s named Rudolph. No one cool is named Rudolph…” No offence to anyone with that name.
During this conversation, Alyshia mentioned how wonderful the idea of the song is because it helps promote the idea that being different is good; being different can lead to new blessings that we never thought about before. What a wonderful interpretation of this song, which I originally shot down because that’s not how I interpreted it growing up… Who’d have guessed I was wrong? Yes, I’m admitting to be wrong… don’t tell Alyshia. For some reason I grew up thinking that the story of Rudolph proves that you need to earn people’s love; people will only like you if you do something big like save Christmas unless maybe you find a loser to hang out with like an elf who wants to be a dentist. Isn’t that a horrible way to live? When I said this out loud it was one of those, “Oh man, this is how I grew up thinking; no wonder I was so screwed up.” The unfortunate truth is, this was my mindset until my late twenties when I started to realize how emotionally unhealthy I was, and began working on myself. Like most kids I loved the Rudolph story and looked forward to watching it on TV every December… you know, before you could buy it and you had to anxiously wait for the time it was on TV so you could watch it, or if you were rich, you had a VHS player to tape it on to watch later… ah, the good old days. And when I watched it, I would dream of the things I could do, so one day people would like me too. Isn’t that horrible? Fortunately, as I teach, there is good in all things, and even this horrible mindset was a blessing because it helped me learn how to work hard and strive for bigger things than a typical shy kid would try to do like start a comedy team and create an annual comedy festival. The event only lasted 5 years, but it was a great experience. The best thing is I now have self esteem, but I still have my ability to dream, so hopefully one day something will come to be. Not because I need people to like me, but because it’d just be nice to have a dream come true.
This week may you realize that we don’t need to “earn” love, but simply share it.
Rev Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people