I just heard that Big Bird is retiring. I guess the lengthy avian is almost as old as I. He first made the scene in 1969 when I was nineteen. I’m not sure how old he was at that time, but I’m pretty sure he was full grown by then. I never actually watched his show very much, but he was still a favorite of mine.
In actuality, I’m guessing Big Bird is going nowhere. I haven’t detected any gray feathers on the old guy. The one who is retiring is the dude who was his voice for almost fifty years, Caroll Spinney. He was also the man behind Oscar the Grouch who was even more favored by me than the large, yellow fowl.
Spinney is now eighty-four years old, so I guess it’s his time. He obviously deserves it, although he says playing the two great Muppets gave him a sense of purpose. Making millions of kids (not to mention adults) happy would do that.
Making Millions Happy
Finding that kind of niche rather early in life is a definite boon. Not all of us are that fortunate. Many of us have to plod through life much longer to hit our stride. Some of us, I suppose, never quite get there.
I started out to become a major league baseball player. That got sidetracked early by a lack of athletic prowess. Then I looked to become a rock star. That, also, crashed and burned. A shortage of musical ability no doubt played into that.
Along the way, I tried various things. Most of them never panned out. I suppose a dearth of real desire contributed to each demise, but at least, I checked them out.
Finally, I became a preacher. The first time I stepped into a pulpit was a Big Bird moment for me. I wasn’t sure what the future held, but I was hooked. The calling of God will do that to you.
Now that I’m retired, that call is as strong as ever—maybe stronger. Our calling never fades—it never goes away. It continues to grow, and the Lord prepares us to grow into it.
It Never Goes Away
You have been and continue to be called as well. Yours might not be to preach. It might be to become a fantastic mom, a reliable plumber, or a steady laborer. How you answer the call is probably less important than the fact that you recognize it and respond. If it hasn’t already arrived, your Big Bird moment is coming.
The call story of Isaiah is a famous one. Hewas already serving Yahweh as a priest in the Temple. God called him to domore. His next step—prophet. It was his Big Bird moment if you will. His lipswere cleansed, he said, “Here am I, send me” and he never looked back.
You and I will probably never be as famous as Isaiah, but our calling is just as important. Answering will become the most fulfilling experience of your life.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]