For fifty-five years Linus has waited faithfully each October 31 in a pumpkin patch in hopes of finally seeing the Great Pumpkin rise into the air to deliver gifts to all the boys and girls. Since 1966, he has missed trick or treating with his friend, Charlie Brown and sister Lucy. He has not been able to attend Violet’s annual Halloween party. He has endured the taunts of the Peanuts crew for his insistence that the Great Pumpkin does exist and that one day he will she him come if only Linus can find the “most sincere” pumpkin patch in which to wait.
I have followed Linus’ exploits for all of those fifty-five years, first as a young girl living in my mother’s home. Then as a newlywed watching with my husband, I cheered for Linus. Later as a mother excitedly introducing Linus to my own little girls, I hoped that he would finally witness the miracle that he believed to be true. Eventually as a grandmother, I reminded my daughters to tune in to the annual showing of this traditional Halloween film. Finally, as someone who has grown old I still believe that Linus’ dream will one day come to fruition.
I am a lover of fairytales. A cockeyed optimist who never gives up. I like the idea of someone so dedicated to a lovely idea that he or she is unwilling to suspend belief in possibilities. I am one of the persons who would love for resolutions to materialize quickly, but who understands that most problems are solved incrementally. Like Linus I possess infinite amounts of patience and determination.
As an educator I learned that some processes take more time than others. I might have an eager, exceedingly brilliant student sitting at the front of the classroom who is capable of learning a year’s worth of Algebra in only weeks. Another seemingly uninterested soul languishing in the back may take three or four times longer to grasp concepts and gain enough confidence to believe that learning mathematics is possible. I always remained patient and hopeful for all of my students because I knew that with time each of them was capable of rising up and embracing the gift of knowledge.
I look around today and I think that we would all do well to have some patience. We need to be willing to believe in one another and to wait for the gratification of our needs. The pandemic has stressed the normal supply chain all across the globe and our usually rapid “on time” ways of operating have slowed to a snail’s pace. The only fault of this situation lies in the impact of Covid-19 on all of humanity, not on any single person or entity. It is time for us to be patient and allow the system to get past the kinks and heal just as so many of us have had to do. Instead there seems to be a great deal of whining and wailing because we suddenly can’t get exactly what we want, when we want it, at the price we prefer to pay. We might instead think of Linus and chill just a bit in the belief that with time we will work this out.
Last March my husband and I ordered an item that is produced in Wisconsin. It is assembled with parts mostly produced in the United States, but a few of the key elements come from other places in the world. It usually takes about four to six weeks to create this machine and ship it to a particular area. Because of slowdowns when workers were becoming ill with Covid-19, we were told in March that it would more likely involve double that amount of time. Then came the message that so many people were finally spending money again and ordering things that we would need to add another month to the estimated time of delivery. Each time we have inquired, the ETA has been pushed farther and farther ahead on the calendar. It is now almost the end of October and there is no end in sight.
This situation has nothing to do with lazy workers or strange trucking laws or the President of the United States. It is simply a result of two years of uncertainty as workers across the world dealt with Covid-19, often on a very personal level. All we can do is be patient. The company is doing its best build the machines as quickly as possible. The truck drivers are working hard. Everyone wants things to settle down and most certainly they will. Eventually we will catch up. We just all need to be flexible and adjust because all the finger pointing and whining in the world will not repair the damage that a tiny virus has inflicted on every aspect of lives across the globe.
The way I see it is that I am still alive and doing well. I don’t need fine cuts of meat or fancy Christmas gifts or immediate gratification of my wishes to feel grateful. I appreciate those who are sacrificing time away from their families to service our desires. I know that they risk their own health in the work that they do. I am thankful that they are doing the very best to keep us supplied with as many of the items we use as possible. If something is missing or unavailable, my part in helping shall be to do without or find a substitute. Most of all I want to be Linus. I intend to be patient.