Here comes Marching Mickey, let’s all shout merrily. M-i-c-k-e-y-M-o-u-s-e.
That little jingle might dredge up some memories for all of us who find ourselves on the doorstep of earning the title “middle aged.” In my opinion, Marching Mickey was one of the coolest toys of the 70’s. That’s quite a compliment with competition like Fisher Price people and Easy Bake Ovens (the real ones with the light bulb). Something was different about Marching Mickey, but that should be expected. After all, you could take him on walks! You couldn’t do that with a Weeble.
I had a Marching Mickey, and I loved him. We did everything together. I can still feel the rubbery grip of his hands as we strolled together down the hallway.
One day, however, a tragedy took place. I was playing with my siblings and decided that Mickey should join us. I ran to my room, grabbed my little buddy, and ran out the door. In my haste, I clipped Mickey on the door jamb and promptly decapitated him. I was brokenhearted. In a moment of carelessness I had murdered my best friend.
When I turned 40, my wife threw me one of those “I still love you even though you’re old” birthday parties. Some of my friends gave me the obligatory “old people” gifts—you know—a cane, denture cream, prune juice, that kind of thing. My wife, however, had a surprise that I never would have guessed. She had searched online and found me another Marching Mickey.
For the next few years, Replacement Mickey sat in the back of my closet. I didn’t really play with him, but I kind of hated to get rid of him. So, when we moved a few months back, I packed him up and took him with me. However, as they say, history repeats itself. When I opened the box that held Mickey, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Being crammed in a box with lots of other stuff didn’t fare so well for my little mouse friend. His head had become separated from his body. The guilt was oppressive. Mickey Mouse is the king of Disney. He is every child’s friend. And I decapitated him. Twice.
Granted, the second time didn’t bother me as much as the first. Maybe I’m more mature now. Or maybe I have become desensitized in my advanced age. Whatever the case, I remember how devastated I was as a child when I broke my favorite toy. If only I could have backed up time and been a little more careful. But it was too late, and I had to face the reality of what I had done.
I think we’ve all been there at some point. We’ve done something we wish we could take back. Our carelessness or rebellion resulted in a disastrous consequence. If only we could change the past.
The ancient Israelites felt the same way. Because they had decided to ignore God’s commands, they found themselves enslaved in Babylon. As captives in a foreign land, they had time to think. Someone decided to put their feelings to song, and hence we have Psalm 137. It reeks with despondency.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.
They wept for their homeland. However, it was no more, and it was their fault.
We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it . . . those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?
The Israelites, known for their music, had lost all desire to sing. They were in a strange land and it was their fault. They had sinned, and they were reaping the consequences.
If they only could go back and have a do-over!
Unfortunately, we cannot change the past. I could not turn back the clock and save my beloved Marching Mickey from the door jamb guillotine. Nor can I make the consequences of my sin disappear.
Not only are we stuck with the consequences of our sin, but we must live with the knowledge that it could have been different, if only we had listened to God.
Sin always brings regret. It did for the Israelites and it does for us. We can’t change the past, but we can shape the future. So heed the warnings and get rid of the sin in your life. It won’t resuscitate your childhood toy, but it may spare you a turn under the willow trees of Babylon.