Letter: Reconsider traps that harm balance

Published 10:38 am Friday, August 9, 2013

My thoughts, and I invite you to join your thoughts to the topic, the experience of traps.  Under several headings, think of the following events or even non-events that are present in many lives. Traps that may be, or have been, part of our lives are:  Wishful thinking, habits and glamorizing the past.

The release, re-doing or reconsidering our experiences may offer a more balanced life; a greater appreciation, even an appropriate love of ourselves. It’s hope!

1. The trap of wishful thinking

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Somewhere in our years of growing, we heard or maybe even taught portions of the Bible. The New Testament Gospel of Luke has a message, I believe, anchored in chapter 15. The story is, in many ways, a common experience of a time when “the lights go on” and a time of return.

The mind of the prodigal (wayward) son, was full of wishful thinking! With big ideas, this young man moved out of a seemingly comfortable, secure home. His decision-making was possessed by thinking that it was a “lot better out there.”  Hormel forgive me (I relish most of your products), but the nub of the story of Luke 15 is the journey from a pig sty to return back home to the arms of a loving father.  Beautiful.  Let’s also imagine that the family back home had Spam sandwiches on the banquet table! There is a banquet in the biblical story. How sweet. And does this young man’s adventure have some truths for us?  In planning our journey, may we use our noggins.

2. The trap of habit

A recent remark: “Habits are horrible and I break one and then acquire another. Damn!” The necessity of addressing a behavior or practice head-on and not missing a day, we may agree is one of the secrets of authentic living.

Samuel Johnson, the wise literary and all-purpose citizen of England, wrote: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”  Listen up! Sir, they can be broken!  Without identifying personal behaviors or ventures that pull us down or create embarrassment, let us believe that we are tough enough to push aside some things that prevent the enlargement of our lives.

3. The trap of glamorizing the past

Giving more attention to the past rather than the present, may only be demoralizing the muscle of splendid attitude.  We may become flabby by too often just living out of the past!

While at Luther Theological Seminary, I was introduced to a clergy person and author of, I think, splendid books that contained thoughts still quotable.  W.R. Inge, once a dean of a british cathedral, stated: “Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter.”  One is also aware of the fact that there are understandable regrets from the past.

Our memories are among beautiful nuggets that sustain us.  The task is to choose to rub and shine those jewels that add stature and liveliness to our living. And that is possible. May a way of saying, “savor all that good stuff, but more importantly, live today!”

Around the state in these weeks, are gatherings of communities in places we call county or state fairs. Are these places where we can relish the present and add some joy, friendship and uplift? A visit to a place of recreation, entertainment, and viewing the participation of others in contests and exhibits may add to those important, edifying, strengthening and positive habits!

When we walk, we place one foot in front of the other and move, hopefully, in the directions that we appreciate and for which we gain a special grace. Goodbye traps. We live in the freedoms we choose!


Marvin Repinksi, Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board Member, Austin