Marvin Repinski: We’re waiting for things to ripen

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2021

An idea kept brewing — possibly an essay — about finding a paragraph in a book I didn’t realize I had until I was unpacking a box of books.

You see, sometimes what you purchase at an auction is a surprise. The Thompson people do reputable actions. My experience: So, in one of the items the caller pointed to, I had observed boxes of books.

A voice kept calling out, looking for a hand to go up, an offer. Mine went up. “Yes, your bid?”

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“$1 for one box?”

“No, all of them!”

“Any more bids? None — Sold!!”

Among the books I treasure is “The Russian Novel.” The author is LeVicomte E.M.D. Voglie and the book was published in 1913. It’s become a godsend.

Biographies of six of the most accomplished, venerated Russian authors of past years. Wow! Now to one of the authors, under the title “Romance — Pushkin and Poetry,” the information and interpretation stuck in my mind like a bolt. It’s a view that, for me, needs amplification.

Commenting on various forms of writing, classical, romance, modern, etc., I will leave that to the experts. I quote: “From the lips of a Russian, is voiced the accusation so often made against Russia by her detractors. Our very blood contains principles hostile and impervious to civilization. We grow but we do not ripen.”

This is a brief part of the gross restlessness in some quarters of Russian history in the 18th century. But the conviction among the romantics was that Russia had atrophied; had lost some of its cultural heritage. Of course, they’re taking the long view.

Nevertheless, my sense is that we as a nation have included many persons who have had admirable accomplishments, but have yet to ripen.

Becky and I had a friend over the years, who taught and led human development classes and seminars in leadership. Bill Cox, now sadly deceased, would get to the core of one’s possibilities. I heard him say in one setting, “If you’re not going to change and grow, you’re just taking up space!”

Born into this world, if it’s a healthy birth, we are on automatic. With proper care, warmth, attention, diet, and guidance in bodily needs, we mature. Age one, age two and so on. No abuse, adequate surroundings, and tons of affection. And onward the process of growth continues.

The worth of what I’m doing

A T-shirt I observed, “Procrastination is delegation to my future self.” Response: Maybe that will be too late!

The Oscar awards are having a changed perspective. With other awards and recognition in the arts, acting, producing, dancing, etc., persons of color are on the stage, front and center. That, I think, is good news! While many would agree, our country, and maybe other nations, have become more divided. There are positive developments simultaneously. What’s going on? Most of us, in a way, as spectators, still have a role to play. Can we not become more mature? Can we not bear the fruit that is waiting to be harvested?

Again, my word to motivate us into a new form of life: to “ripen.” An example, a black artist, now with broad recognition in movies, is Anthony Mackie. An article in the “Arts and Leisure” section of the Sunday, April 25, 2021, New York Times is titled “Black Heroes Re-imagine the Fight for Equality.” It’s about insight into the journey with his talent.

Mackie recently told the culture reporter that the struggles of black superheroes were “a concentrated version of the greater human struggle.” I’m sorting that out in my own days of living one step at a time.

Choice is a vital part of our gains

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz has been a life changer. A person recently told me that studying that book and applying the suggestions to his own life situation gave his life a new direction. Ah! How wonderful!

We may take home some of the wisdom. Talking about humans resisting life, he writes, “To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”

Ruiz writes about domestication. We may, each of us, explore that work. It may help us build our own muscles, to grow into the image of what we may become. Just to please “them” (maybe sometimes) is to abandon our least best selves; the talents that we really have.

What we are becoming can grow

We are more than we allow ourselves to become. I’m thinking of a Bible verse a youth director kept saying. They were quoting Jesus. Jesus, giving an invitation, says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Is that another way of saying your ripening is now going to happen? Jesus spoke to a group who knew about baiting a hook and lowering a net into the water. Now we have an example of people who fish; ripening, expanding into a larger life, these persons familiar with boats and the water get a new future.

Asking for help is most fitting

The prayer for our days: Strong, loving God, we confess that we do not always understand strength that comes without force, or weakness that comes without failure. Teach us again the power of your love. Grant us the holy nudge of the Spirit to move us from fear to faith once more. Hear us, and give us a new beginning. In Jesus name we ask these things. Amen.

Starting the day? Get your pony shod

It may be the manner in which we start the day that will push us to the goal we have in mind for that day. I think this is true of what is going on with a group of thoughtful men who meet as a kind of fellowship many mornings a week at the Austin McDonald’s. I have heard it said by one that “time puts gas in my tank.”

Negligence, I think we can agree, is the rock in our souls that keeps us cross-eyed. Can we see that the pony is properly cared for before we can accomplish a particular mission? Of course, one needs to have a mission. Is that a place to start? The start may include a record, a notebook, a calendar with a firm intention? We may wish to mark it down: “What to do today.” End of day: “Did I follow-through on that intention?”