…was one of those metal types. I hear there are people who collect them. I still have this lunchbox complete with thermos and they are both somewhat prominently displayed on our bookshelf. It is a bit scratched up, but otherwise is in pretty good shape and if you open it up it still has the faint smell of peanut butter sandwiches and potato chips. This lunchbox has the cartoon characters from Peanuts on all its sides. Each day of the first grade Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy and Woodstock would join me in the cafeteria of Eatonton Grammar School for lunch.
Nine years ago alongside many around the world I mourned the passing of the creator and illustrator of Peanuts, Charles Schulz. His death was somewhat poetic in that he died literally hours before his last strip was to be published in the Sunday paper. In the course of fifty years of Peanuts, many of us grew up with good ol’ Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang. I am not sure if I ever missed a Christmas without watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I practically learned to read, along with millions of others, due to my love of comic strips like the Peanuts.
One of the things that I admired about Schulz’s life (and death) was his commitment to create right up until the very end. He understood that God had placed him here on this earth to positively contribute to his culture. He brought smiles to faces of all ages. He gently challenged and prodded our assumptions and prejudices. He wove in theology and spirituality and did his best not to denigrate others. I like today’s comics too, but most of them “bite” a little too much and are veiled heavy in sarcasm and cynicism.
And so for each of us it can be said that God has placed us here for a creative contribution to our culture. It is doubtful that none of us will have lunchboxes designed after our own creations, but like Schulz we can positively add to the lives of others. And like Schulz, may it be said at our deaths that we worked hard and we did so with integrity. And while life was unfolding we made others smile along the way.
Here you are dear reader, finishing another one of my columns. What wondrous gift awaits your creative contribution? There just might be a world leaning in to listen and maybe laugh with you.
Grace and peace,
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)