The comic strip Peanuts contains deeper meanings and metaphors that serve as parables for our lives. Wisdom teachings. The characters often represent our messy personalities.
Take Pig Pen—the kid with the broken crayons, the shirt with tomato soup stains, and smudged, wrinkled homework. Pig Pen’s often marginalized by the other kids. He never even gets assigned a real name unlike the other members of the Peanuts family. His dust cloud follows him around like a grey omen.
Yet, Pig Pen is the loyal friend who gives up Trick or Treating to stand watch with Linus in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear, even though he doubts the Great Pumpkin’s existence.
Pig Pen is the one who’s honest with himself. He knows he’s not perfect, yet he keeps on trying, trying to do his best. He never loses heart.
Pig Pen stands as metaphor for that part of us that doesn’t have it all together yet. That part of our personalities that keeps messing up, keeps repeating the same mistakes, gets caught up in the dark clouds of life from time to time, yet keeps on trying. Pig Pen allows us to love and embrace the false self within us that exists in the dust cloud of messiness we carry around in our daily lives.
Then there’s Linus—the security-blanket wielding chap who seems to always be searching for something deeper within himself. The guy who’s willing to sit in the pumpkin patch year after year during the fall harvest waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear.
Linus is the eternal optimist. He seems to be connected with something or someone deeper within himself. He’s the mystic, the one who sits in the quiet, listening, seeking a deeper more direct experience with the Great Pumpkin; and from time to time he connects with the Great Spirit. At the Christmas pageant, for example, when Linus cuts through all the hoopla and artificiality of the holiday and proclaims the true meaning of Christmas to his family and friends.
Linus stands as a symbol of the wisdom-self that dwells within each of us. A wisdom that exists yet can only be tapped into when we quiet our minds and listen with our hearts.
I wonder if Pig Pen and Linus represent the false and true self within each of us and if so, perhaps both of them are necessary parts of what it means to be truly human, whole and balanced, messy and unfinished. Yes—And.
Maybe there’s a little of both Pig Pen and Linus in each of us. Our messy selves like Pig Pen’s dust remind us that we’re a work in progress and if we remain loyal to ourselves and life eventually we’ll connect with our deeper selves, our Linus-self, the true self that existed before we were born. And as we embrace both these parts of who we are, God blesses our messiness and makes us whole.
Have you ever felt like Pig Pen?
Do you notice the Linus within you?
How do these two parts of your personality connect and become One within the Great Spirit?
Can you join Pig Pen and Linus and sit in the pumpkin patch each day waiting for the Great Spirit?