The Gospel in a Peanuts Shell: Ups and Downs

For fifty years, Charles Shultz penned the cartoon strip Peanuts. Through the lives of children, he gave us not only smiles and laughter, but also insights into our lives as adults.

In one of their many encounters, Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she is discouraged. Charlie Brown responds by saying that everyone experiences life’s ups and downs. Not to be so easily cheated out of her despair, Lucy vehemently replies, “I don’t want any ‘downs’. I want only ‘ups’.”

When I go out to photograph, I may wish for an azure sky with a few cotton ball clouds for interest. And sometimes, that does happen. But it is often the case that I don’t have conditions that might be regarded as “ideal”.

Early one October weekend, I went to the Blue Ridge Parkway to photograph the full moon as it rose over the mountains just before sunset. I had done all the necessary research on moonrise and sunset times. I also went prepared to camp overnight, so this outing required a lot of extra work. However, as I drove towards the Parkway, the sunny skies became partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, and then completely overcast. I never saw the moon. (And I didn’t see a whole lot of the sun.) But I did see some spectacular early fall color along the Parkway.

Not only had I not planned on photographing autumn colors, but I would not have been able to get this shot if it hadn’t been for the overcast sky and the even lighting that it provided.

I cannot control the weather anymore than Charlie Brown can control whether or not Lucy pulls the football away when he tries to kick it. What is within my ability to control is how I respond to the weather (or other external aspects of life). Another Charles, put it this way:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact
that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to
me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.

– Charles R. Swindoll