Wednesday, February 14, 2007
happy valentine's day
Like so many other holidays begun and sustained by the card industry, Valentine's Day is here to stay. So, last night I watched "A Charlie Brown Valentine" in order to get in the mood. I love this special! I love Charlie Brown! It's not sentimentalized at all. And, as anyone who's been around for a while knows, love is not a sentimental thing; it's scary and risky, and when it disappoints, it hurts!
There are a lot of us who are like Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, and Linus Van Pelt. I remember the anxiety of going to class on Valentine's Day. Like Charlie Brown, I hoped each year to be a member of the group, receiving a lot of notes telling me that I belonged. Inside, though, I still wondered if I would I get any cards. I often didn't get a lot of them. I was a little bit of an oddball - smart, read too much, and a little on the fringes of things. There have been times that I've been like little Sally Brown, so sure that the one she loves will love her back only to be disappointed. There she sits so proud to know that Linus will give her a big box of candy, but he runs out of the rooom to give it to their teacher. She yells, "Why is he in the parking lot with my box of candy?" And then there's Linus, reaching beyond his grasp to offer his love. He can't find the courage to offer his gift to the one who has captured his heart - his teacher. After finally settling on his presentation, he learns that she is gone. He runs to the parking lot to find her with her boyfriend, arriving just as they pull away in the car. He stands there with his heart in his hands - literally. What a genius cartoon. What a true commentary on life.
This Valentine's Day I am lucky to know where I belong and that I have special love in my life. I have places to offer my heart and people who will receive it in return. Too many of us don't, though. And, I don't think our churches are doing a good enough job to welcome love fully into our midst and share it freely with others. Our churches are too much like Charlie Brown's classroom where some are loved. some are left, and some are invisible. Good ol' Charlie Brown is a great prophet for our churches today. He reminds us of the deep marks that our thoughtlessness leave. I wonder if our churches change enough that one day I'll pop in my Charlie Brown movie and something else will show up on the screen with all of the kids loving and being loved without exclusion.
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