Marvin Repinski: Surrounded by caregivers

Published 6:30 am Saturday, May 15, 2021

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“No amount of fine feeling can take the place of faithful doing.” — (William Barclay)

Each day is a period in which we all receive the care of another, or hopefully, share care for another. 

The following thoughts are directed to myself, you, and especially that broad audience that receives and directs care to others. To nurture tenderness to those who both give and receive care, and possibly, simultaneously, is to see a larger world. To get to the place where our loves and lives are so uncluttered that we are free of preoccupation, preconception, and interpretation is a challenge.

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A New Testament accounting of Jesus and the disciple, Peter, is for me very engaging.  It is a record of receiving and then giving over and over.  One line in the story is, “and Jesus turned and looked at Peter.”  Two turns; Jesus, then Peter!  And the story hereafter is that Peter, through hardships, denials, falling behind, and repenting, emerged with a heavenly gaze that one can imagine, lasted forever.

Family extension to receive and give

In a volume of  the enlightenment of Family Caregiving, is the “Chicken Soup for the Soul’’ series, which Joan Lunden and assistants gather together. Following the death of her brother Jeff and then the ill health of her mother, age 88, who was in need of special care, Ms. Lunden wrote this series, in part, out of her own experiences. Hoping to create a greater awareness of the general public, to live with preparation for our future years, she quotes the following.  “According to recent surveys, at least 66 percent of the U.S. population — or more than 138 million Americans — believe they will need to provide care to someone in the future.”  What steps will be taken in the present?

In my vocational life as a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 50 years — and I suppose out of my own mother being disabled — I had some kind of attentiveness to persons with special needs. Is sympathy transferred from our parents? We can think of that as a question of challenge!

As a minister’s calling, among various assignments, duties, sermonizing, youth groups and time schedules, I spent a large part of my time in nursing homes, county-sponsored residences for the disabled, and with those unable to cope on their own. Another question: Is my example one reason that my daughter, Christine, has worked for 26 years in group homes for special needs persons?

A community is alive

A memory of both the neglect and hurt of our environment is often present.  I see volunteers and staff persons pulling a 100 old, used up, discarded vehicle tires out of the Cedar River north of Austin. The Austin Daily Herald newspaper, with its environmental commitment, has shared print news and photographs of the cleanup and proper disposal. Clean water and the beautifying of our waterways is a splendid example of the hundreds of volunteers and their hard work. Thank you! 

Some destroy nature; others come to the rescue. 

We wish for clear walkways, air, water, and, of course, detailed, concerned leadership. A quote: “A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.”  Thank Ben Franklin.

Heavy lifting: Recycling

The Saturday of May 8 found me roaming.


The Mower County Fairgrounds. Was a reporter or photographer there today? I asked a 300 pounder lifting a large TV set. You need to be big and muscular to be part of the volunteers for the one-day recycling event where, in a proper manner, mostly electronic “stuff” was being collected.

With a glad heart, I chose to walk about the workers and the huge boxes (five feet tall, five feet on four sides) that the recyclables were being placed.  To myself, I spoke — “now don’t get in the way!”  Men, women, and an array of youth were in an uplifted mood, lining up the vehicles, and directing the traffic.

As in other years I thought, this is splendid. How ambitious and environmentally committed these persons are.  Possibly at least four dozen participants or more. Tears nearly came to my eyes and I recall a sentence of a poet who wrote, “I like the snot to run a little, the tears to accumulate a bit before I reach for the handkerchief. Then I know I’m really crying.  Crying just isn’t crying unless it’s messy.”

Now I think of these saints, part of the Mower County Board of Commissioners and their planning. Wonderful. How do we save our planet?  Examples like this, joined by persons from area service clubs, churches, the V.F.W, Scouts, HRA relationships, Mower County Senior Center personnel, persons who support the Nature Center, and one guy from Piggy Blues, a man I spoke to from the Twin Cities, and the drivers of the large trailers, vehicles, that with great effort, are loaded with the “treasures.”  If I’ve left out any volunteers, talk to the Mayor, Steve King.

The talented author and public speaker, Carol Bly has written of her love for an old campfire song:

“The Lord of Love

Has come to me -—

I want to pass it on.”

Do you agree?