Good Old Snoopy
At Christmas I was given a page-a-day calendar by someone I admire greatly. The first thing you need to know is that I love this type of calendar. In a small way it’s very similar to a treasure hunt. Some days you find nuggets of wisdom, and some days you come up empty-handed. Much like this blog!
This particular calendar is a compilation of old Snoopy comic strips. And the second thing you need to know is that I don’t know a whole lot about the Peanuts Gang.
Sure, I watched the TV specials when I was younger. I would laugh hysterically when Snoopy danced and would inevitably cry when Linus gently reminded us of the true meaning of Christmas. But in general I didn’t read the daily comic strip because I was not one of those kids who read the newspaper, even the comics.
So with this calendar, I expected it to be cute and charming and somewhat amusing. I didn’t expect wisdom and insight, but that’s what I got on January 13.
That day’s page started with a scene that opens with Lucy talking, and she says, “That’s really kind of disillusioning.” Charlie Brown asks, “What’s the matter?” To which Lucy replies, “Snoopy isn’t as smart as I thought he was.” In the last panel she concludes, “He moves his lips when he reads,” and it cuts to Snoopy sitting in front of an open book reading.
Lucy has some high expectations. It’s not good enough that Snoopy - a dog, mind you - can read, but for it to really count, he must be able to do so without moving his lips.
How many times do we set impossible standards for ourselves and others? We fail to see the miraculous in what is happening because in our eyes it’s not good enough unless it is a miracle of the highest order. Unless it’s perfection.
I once heard someone describing a very common situation in corporate America. A project goes off the rails; chaos ensues, and everyone knows that it must be rectified. There is no alternative. The team members kick into high gear; they work harder; they stay late; they come in early, and they pull it off. Everyone agrees it required a miracle, but they did it. As soon as the high-fives and euphoria dissipate slightly, management calmly adds it to the list of normal expectations.
Years ago when I was teaching Sunday school and would tell the story of the Israelites in the wilderness, I always wondered What in the world was wrong with those people? The sea literally parted for them; water rushed out of a rock to quench their thirst; food literally fell from heaven 6 days a week; and they had the best GPS EVER. But give them 30 minutes, and they would forget, start grumbling or start worshiping a different god.
Again, what was wrong with those people? And yet, the same thing happens to us, to me. Something amazing happens: a God-sighting, a mountain top moment, irrefutable proof that God is watching over my life, and 30 minutes later I’ve forgotten; I grumble. Why can’t we seem to hang onto the miracle? To the wonder?
As I pondered this I could seem to find no answers, only more questions, and then this thought came to me. There are miracles everywhere we turn, and yet we miss a good portion, maybe even the majority, of them because we’re not looking for them. Maya Angelou once said, “We are only as blind as we want to be.”
Let’s open our eyes to the wonder and the miracles that surround us instead of overlooking them while searching for better.