The several sides of me

Published 9:30 am Friday, August 22, 2014

Woody Allen so often gets it right. “God is silent. Now if only man would shut up.”

We need meditation times, quiet spaces for just “nothing,” and to have the audacity to say “stay away!”

A complete human being lives in seasons. A whole person does have cycles. Vacation times — yes — even a few precious hours, are mandatory. To say “I love you” is spoken by a body with arms. Why? “Arm’s length,” we say. Is that to kindly comfort both yourself and the other, staying at “arm’s length”? The length of a football field may better fit the bill.

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All the above being said, I choose to switch horses. Tavis Smiley, a talented late night talk show host, has, over the last 10 years, become a top-notch leader; a charming, yet extremely skilled person in the art of interviewing others on his PBS show.

Some of you reading this have memories of flying high with the rocking music of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Do you still hum a tune from their albums? A recent interview with David Crosby by the gifted Dr. Smiley (he has a number of those degrees), moved me from a time of meditation to exaltation. I believe we need both; quiet space and loud rhythms.

David Crosby raised many roofs with grand concerts. The world of songs still speak to us. And Crosby, having recently undergone serious heart surgery, continues to be a kind of philosopher. Among the many words he spoke during the interview, included the following: “I’m fascinated by people. How the world works for them.” Yes.

As for people-watching, one of the delights is to see facial expressions in the midst of hustle and bustle. An expression at the Austin Hy-Vee was one of hundreds this past week. Look. How many peaches does a person have to place their hands around to bring the beautiful fruit to their nose and I assume sniff. Look closely. The expressions exhibit varied levels of satisfaction. Two are chosen.

We need to speak. We need to listen. We need to observe. One observer, Andrew Galasetti has written: “Samuel finally understood the sound of the wind after all these years; the winds were a chorus of the prairie’s ever-present heartaches.”

Our wholeness, the balance of our lives grants us joy; the silence, broken by the times of engagement, equips us to be persons that give pleasure to others.

A thought for these days when the city lifts up the arts. There is, in a festival of the arts, both reflection and stillness, combined with a lot of buzz. You have here an example of the several worlds we live in.

Thomas Merton, out of his deep spirituality (a Roman Catholic monk), has written: “The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love, and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world.”

Be at peace.

Marvin Repinski is a retired United Methodist Pastor.