Marvin Repinski: It’s time to unfold our chairs

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2021

We can all look, plan, learn, and be forward-thinking. There are exceptions in the cases of the country where you reside, your physical and mental health, and a variety of circumstances. That is to be understood. But for most of us, a call to look and an attempt to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes, is recommended.

Perspective on where we are

Cartoons can bring us insights and messages. I’m thinking of a past interaction between the “Peanuts” characters Lucy and Charlie Brown. Lucy is often lecturing her friend, Charlie Brown.

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“Did you notice that on cruise ships some passengers have canvas folding deck chairs; some facing forward? Those persons are looking to the future. Other persons have their deck chairs facing backwards.”

What we know of cruise ships, often on one side, passengers may only have a rocky barren hillside for a view. The other side may be a vista of beauty; a kind of paradise. A young boy may stand up to get a better look at the shoreline and say, “Look, Dad, the people are waving and they’re dressed so neat. Wave back.” The unfolded chair is a gift of enjoyment. The glorious vistas, the ancient buildings and designs; my camera is ready!

A deck chair facing “backwards” is like looking at the past – at least while on board, missing the sights! The question facing Charlie Brown is, “On the great cruise ship of life (are we not all on it?), which way is your deck chair facing?

You may be another Charlie Brown. His reply is, “I don’t know, I can’t get my chair unfolded.”

Propose a stand: Flaws are fleeting, faith is welcomed

We have choices. Among them is to see the world around us, to enable persons to be forward-looking. Do some of our friends, really nice people, need a little push? Can we, with them, have unfolded chairs facing the beauty, the awesome sites that our ship can provide? Is the vista too large of a promise?

As our new president, Joseph R. Biden, placed his hand on a Bible from another era, his wife Jill stood by his side and held the treasured book. She, I believe, was one with him with his family and staff, leading our nation forward. A verse from that Holy Book indicates our national goals: “A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where a man was wounded. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion.” (Luke 10:33.)

Position yourself with a view

As of today, where are you looking? What direction? We have, if we acknowledge it, copious amounts of freedom. Think of events in our country’s history and how movement was forward. A message for us in the gruesome inhumane trail of slavery is a quotation from a devotional booklet of June 19: “Harriet Smith was born into slavery in 1851 in Hempstead, Texas. Her mother, grandmother, brother, and sister were also slaves. She saw children being sold ‘like livestock’ off the auction block and men whose clothes were peeled off their backs from whippings. Slaves were liberated in Texas on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, saying the war had ended. President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, freeing all slaves in the South, but word never got to Texas. So “Juneteenth” is the celebrated day of freedom.”

My intention for readers of my words, and certainly for our families and our children, is to look forward. We are expanded, made large in spirit, given a soul of compassion if we work on new views. Statements from splendid authors such as Dorothy Parker, who herself had barriers and fences to climb. She had courage — and a lot of it — that enlivened her life. She wrote, “They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.”

Is your deck chair unfolded? Are you seated with a view to the possibilities that welcome you?