The time has come to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A day that is to be filled with love and expressing emotion, but not everyone has the same feelings as to what this day should mean. For some, it’s about celebrating the people that are in their lives. It’s not just about marriage and partnerships. For others, it means about love. As I think about Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of Charlie Brown. For me, out of all the guys out there, he has been the most real. He makes mistakes, admits that he’s wrong, apologizes, and finds himself being a good guy. He’s a hopeless romantic, and unfortunately, he has gotten hurt. Think about the first time he saw Heather, the little-redheaded girl. He chokes up and at times even runs when he sees her. He’s too nervous to approach her, but his intentions are meant to be of the very best. Some might also say it was true love. Think about, he had been waiting 50 years just thinking about her. Hoping to meet her one day. The little-redheaded girl had spent decades as the object of Charlie Brown’s affections. She lived in Charlie’s neighborhood and attended his school, but no matter how many times they crossed paths, he never managed to say anything to her — let alone tell her how he actually felt. Like kicking a football or flying a kite, she existed, forever, just outside of Charlie Brown’s reach. Although there was more to the story than just a guy wanting to meet the girl next door. This storyline was so much more than that, it is about more than just a box of chocolate. For many, Valentine’s Day isn’t always so easy.
Many viewers were drawn in to see the endless travails, frustrations, and disappointments of its main character, Charlie Brown – unrequited in love and never able to kick that darned football – were largely those of Charles Schultz. There was a real-life woman who would later become the Little Red-Haired Girl. She never looked at lovelorn Charlie Brown twice and was actually a woman that Schultz fell in love with in the 1940s only to see her marry another man. “You never get over your first love,” Schulz was to say in an interview two years before he died. “The whole of you is rejected when a woman says: ‘You’re not worth it.'” Love has such an effect on people. It can make you forget everything else in life. It can be all-consuming at times, and within seven seconds it can take your breath away.
There is such thing as love at first sight. It’s difficult if you have put your hopes and dreams into someone and for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work out. Perhaps it’s the reason for why there are many who find Valentine’s Day exhausting. It rekindles the stories and memories of relationships past. Many of us have had that “Little Redheaded moment,” the moment that you find that first love. We’ve all had that same thinking as Charlie Brown, “I’d give anything in the world if that little girl with the red hair would come over and sit with me,” he says to himself. “I get tired of always being alone… I wish the bell would ring…” as he wrote her sincere notes and Valentine’s Day cards about how she makes him feel. He notices a bully picking on her and prepares to swoop in heroically to rescue her. He plans to win her affection by pitching a perfect Little League game, as he fails to intervene on her behalf with the bully, allowing Linus to step in with his trusty blanket.
In many ways, we secretly wish to have the love that Charlie Brown had for the Little Red Headed girl, but the most important love that we can depend on is within ourselves. The real world isn’t a comic strip, but instead be a good person, and the object of your affection may come to have affection for you, too. It’s a softer lesson than Schulz’s, but one that’s no less true — what is meant to be, will be.