Last night while I graded a threaded discussion for my online class, I watched/had on in the background It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
I've written about the wisdom of this show before. Sometimes we have to wait in our pumpkin patches while others get to have parties and treats. Sometimes we sit in our patch, hoping its sincere enough for the Great Pumpkin. Even if the Great Pumpkin (whatever that represents in the various aspects of your life) doesn't come, you can still have interesting adventures along the way. Some of your friends and family will understand your life in the pumpkin patch. Many more will not.
Last night as I watched the show, I thought about how many of my formative years had a Peanuts special airing periodically. I thought about how this show might have shaped my expectations. Last night what leapt out at me was the mistreatment of Charlie Brown. He gets an invitation to a party, and Lucy assures him that he wasn't on the list of approved people to come to the party. He got the invitation by mistake.
I thought of how many times I am astonished to be included. I wonder how much of my attitude can be traced back to Charlie Brown.
In a similar vein, I watched Charlie Brown, out trick-or-treating and thus in disguise, who is mistreated by strangers. All of the children get treats, while he gets a rock.
The show was in some ways a lesson in scarcity thinking: there's not enough to go around. I've spent much of my adult life trying consciously to disrupt that kind of thinking. If I can unclench my hands, the universe/God/life will fill my hands with goodness.
The later part of the show redeems itself a bit. Lucy puts Linus, worn out from his night of waiting, into bed. We are all assured that there will be a Halloween next year. We haven't lost out on our only chance.
It's a message I need to hear. I'm surrounded by people who are saying, "Too late. Too old. Wrong credentials. Why try?"
I needed the reminder of the cyclical nature of it all. And It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown does just that.
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