Thought of The Month August 2023 ~ Time to Smell the Roses

By: Vince DiPasquale

The month of August has always been referred to as, “the dog days of summer”. August is a time to relax and enjoy the beauty of life before the reality of life returns. It’s almost as if it’s God’s way of saying, “Take a break”. One of the hardest things for many of us is to learn how to play, relax and have fun. Time goes by so quickly so let’s make time to slow down and get in touch with our inner spirits and child. I remember when I had the wonderful experience of visiting Disneyland in California with my grandchildren from Montana. The first day we visited another park which featured my favorite characters from the spiritual comic strip of Peanuts. It reminded me how important it is to get in touch with our inner spirits.

Let’s take time this month to reflect on four of the special characters of this strip. Remember each one of them is part of each of us. A very wonderful teacher who I had the privilege to experience in the 1970’s, used these characters to teach us about our inner spirit. He would say, “If you truly want to get to know yourself, look to the Peanuts characters and they will teach you all you need to know about yourself”. There are two special books which teach us about the spirituality of life. They are, “The Gospel According to Peanuts” and “The Parable of Peanuts”. Let’s go on a spiritual discovery together with Lucy, Linus, Charlie and Snoopy. They help me to remember what is important in life. Let’s go visit them.

Lucy, the worried, grouchy, controller – my way or the highway – character is inside all of us. She is a little scared child who expresses anger, frustration, and control to get her way. Whenever we find ourselves acting like Lucy it means we feel insecure, scared, fearful, and anxious. We are afraid to get hurt so we push people away. Don’t we all feel like Lucy sometimes? Lucy also teaches us about our addictive personality. To me she reminds me of someone searching for love. In many ways at times, we are all frightened, lonely, and sad little children. We all want to be loved unconditionally. She reminds us that we all have our fears and insecurities. Listen to the Lucy within. She just wants to be accepted and loved.

Linus, with his security blanket, reminds us that we all have our deficiencies. Linus is just a lonely, little boy wanting to belong. He reminds us that we are not islands. We need to be connected and part of a family. Many times, we migrate towards dependencies and are frightened to let go. To feel secure and peaceful is something we all crave but if we are scared to take risks, to let go, they can rule our life. We need to learn the difference between co-dependencies and inter-dependencies. It’s okay to feel close, but we have to make sure our dependencies don’t keep us from reality. Linus tries to help us get in touch with our fears of abandonment and rejection. We need each other but we have to learn how not to hang on too tight, Let’s all “Let Go and Let God.”

Good old Charlie Brown, the ultimate codependent, poor Charlie, everything happens to him. The little red headed girl doesn’t pay attention to him, his baseball team reminds us of the Bad News Bears and Lucy drives him crazy! Lucy knows how to use and manipulate him. He is the official victim who doesn’t know how to accept things. The classic comic strip is Lucy holding the football for Charlie to kick. When he goes to kick it, she pulls it away and he lands on his rear end. He gets up and tries again. After four times with the same result his friends tell Charlie, “Don’t you get it, she’s not going to hold that football!” Charlie’s famous words are “Someday she will”. Sounds familiar like “Someday I’m going to have fun” or “Someday I’ll make time for myself”. It’s called the “someday disease”. When a codependent dies, they put on his tombstone “Someday”. Charlie is so hard on himself and everyone else because of expectations. Sound familiar?

Then we come to Snoopy, “the hound of heaven”. He is the symbol of the free spirit that dwells in all of us. Snoopy reminds me of recovery which you can’t figure out. Don’t try! To fully live life, is to be open and spontaneous to life’s journey. There lurks a little Snoopy inside all of us. He is the butterfly, the spirit of living. They tell him to be careful. Lucy is having a crab in, and Snoopy knocks on her door and when she answers he kisses her on the nose and runs away. He reminds us not to be afraid, to detach with LOVE. He is always taking Linus’ security blanket. Recovery strips us of our dependencies and our focus on taking responsibility for life. Charlie Brown is always trying to put Snoopy in obedience school to try to control him, just like we try to organize recovery. Snoopy reminds us that life is an adventure to be lived. When you live in spirit you live in faith and are open to discovering something new.

Please don’t try to figure out or organize life. Let’s learn not to take the journey too seriously. Do the best you can each day and live life to the fullest. August is the time to kick back, relax and just let the inner Snoopy flow. Be spontaneous. Don’t worry, things always have a way of working out. Take a risk and always remember, easy does it. We are all God’s children and Snoopy is the energy of love inside of all of us. Enjoy the rest of the summer and God bless!

A Prayer for Humility
Lord, I am far too influenced by what people think of me. Which means that I am often pretending to be richer or smarter than I really am. Please prevent me from trying to attract attention. Don’t let me gloat over praise, on the one hand, or be discouraged by criticism, on the other; nor let me waste time weaving imaginary situations in which the most heroic, charming, and witty person present is me. Show me how to be humble of heart.