At least we’re all friends again

An episode of Veggie Tales1 features a story patterned after Gilligan’s Island, the situation comedy that ran on CBS in the 1960s. Unlike the original, where the crew and passengers were stranded because of a storm, Larry’s Lagoon finds everyone (except for Ginger and Mary Ann, who canceled) stranded on a deserted island because First Mate Larry’s daydreaming causes their little boat to crash against some rocks and sink.

You won’t be surprised to know that Bob the Tomato (the Skipper) and the other three – the professor and the wealthy couple – hold a grudge against Larry for putting them in this predicament. After all, it was his fault.

Larry, recognizing the broken relationship for what it is, resolves to leave the group, since he’s clearly not wanted anymore. Meanwhile, the other four are coming to terms with their own failures and need for forgiveness. The joy of being forgiven causes them – especially Bob – to recognize their own failure to forgive Larry. Bob resolves to find his “little buddy.” “We have something to tell you!” he calls out across the lagoon to Larry who is leaving the island on a raft.

Forgiveness is exchanged (Larry forgives them for not forgiving him) and the group is happy again, though their big problem remains unresolved. It’s at this point that Bob drops some wisdom. 

“If only there was a way for us to get back home,” complains the asparagus playing the role of Eunice “Lovey” Howell. 

“Yeah, well at least we’re all friends again,” Skipper Bob responds.

The professor immediately appears flying a helicopter that he’s made out of bamboo and the story quickly moves to its happy ending as all climb aboard, so we might miss the profound importance of Bob the Tomato’s off-hand observation. “At least we’re friends again.”

Unlike episodes of Veggie Tales and most other short-form television, the problems that enter our lives aren’t quickly resolved by the 25-minute mark with the sudden appearance of a bamboo helicopter. Mostly, when we are aware of problems in life, we spend hours if not days or months in that place where “if only there was a way…” is an appropriate lament.

In these kinds of long-form troubled situations, Bob’s insight about the enduring nature of friendship is not only consolation, it is absolutely necessary. We can hold the grudge and go it alone or we can find a way to share the forgiveness that God gives us and rediscover our companions for the journey, troubled though it may be.

Pr. Jim

Oct. 12, 2022

Rev. James A. Wetzstein serves as university pastor at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University and takes turns writing weekly devotions with University Pastor Rev. Katherine Museus Dabay.

1 VeggieTales, God Wants Me To Forgive Them?