In Peanuts, Charlie Brown is writing his pencil pal.
“Did you have a nice summer? Mine could have been better, but it could have been worse. For me, that’s good!”
There is a lot of truth in that statement for all of us. Matters in our lives could always be better, but they could always be worse. The humour found in Charlie Brown’s summer is that it always seems to be bad for him. When he writes “it could have been worse” is almost a victory for him. Regular readers of Peanuts know this.
For most of us, life is pretty good. We live in a great land. The bad days we have pale in comparison to many. Generally, we live in nice homes and have plenty to eat. Many in the world fare far worse. If only Charlie Brown realized this he would be more grateful for what he has.
We have all witnessed the small child in a store wanting a new toy or a piece of candy. At that precise moment, there is nothing more important to that child and if he is refused his desire, his world is literally falling apart. The feeling soon passes. These children have no idea what true misery is all about.
As we grow and experience life, we treasure new adventures and friendships. Most of us marry, raise a family and reap the benefits they provide us.
“If a man has family, he’s rich,” Col. Sherman Potter once said in a MAS*H episode.
Family meaning not only a spouse, but parents, brothers and sisters, children, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of life is the life cycle itself. Frankly, it stinks! For those like myself, I had 15 aunts and uncles and both sets of grandparents into my twenties. I was lucky. Very lucky. As I age, the cycle of life takes hold and I have watched many of them pass. I only have two immediate aunts and two immediate uncles left. I miss each in their own way.
Yet, we continue to tread along the road of life, enjoying its treasures and miseries. It is said one cannot enjoy true happiness without experiencing misery. I guess you have to have something to compare the two. Can one truly enjoy the smells of a rural farm and its flowers one minute and realize how bad the pig barn smells the next? You can, but the flowers smell so much better after leaving the pig barn.
Life is a precious gift given to us to enjoy. Most of us can determine our own fate. We are free to make choices.
But then comes that day when we lose a loved one. Our world seems to collapse. Whether we deal with the loss through our own belief system, or the religion of your choice, we do have the freedom and choice. Whatever works for the individual is best. There is no perfect answer. What is best for one may not work for the other.
To tie this together is the focus of my last point. I cannot remember the name of the movie, but a man is imprisoned in a war camp and is now old. A young man arrives and sees the horror of life and is ready to give up. The conversation goes something like this:
“How do you live here day after day, with all the misery and death around you?”
“Because tomorrow might be a better day!” says the old man.
Hang onto hope when times are tough! Never forget the past but live for tomorrow because it just might be a better day!