Marvin Repinski: Did you say ‘people have feelings?’

Published 6:30 am Saturday, July 17, 2021

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I plan to send a get-well card to a friend which reads, “Here’s hoping each day finds you — Improving more and more — Until you’re feeling better — Than you have ever felt before!”

When teaching at Riverland Community College, I said to a fellow teacher, “Don’t be so hard on that guy who is having difficulty in the World Religions class. I know him — don’t forget, a person has feelings.” His answer back, “Feelings schmeelings. Learn to grow up.”

Offering a few thoughts and examples on the very large topic of feelings is my reflection. Out of viewing others, my own experiences of a rash of disappointments and a beautiful garden of fulfillment I suggest: the experiences that have molded your life. Just a little nudge!

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My rumination over this subject is that there are many responses to this topic, such as feelings are for sissies; you finally grow out of such a part of life. It’s best to be tough and that’s my goal. You are denying the mental stuff by paying attention to feelings. To deny a human being their most basic emotions is blindness.

You may have heard, “When you mature that feeling stuff takes a back seat. You get beyond it.” My counseling of persons, especially couples over many years, has been a learning experience. To shed tears over the death or hardship of another person or community is a mark of identification. One who can cry in the presence of another adult when a love has been trespassed or a gal or guy after a sweet courtship has broken up — Oh! That’s crushing and may lead to long-term damage. To hear “he’ll get over it, he’s a big boy” is like another arrow in the heart.

A visitor to Paris, noting the Notre Dame Cathedral, wrote, “It is a real joy to share with you my passion for this ever dynamic cathedral. When I arrived two years ago, I was alarmed by the state of degradation, including the spire, the chevet, the gargoyles, and the flying buttresses of the chancel. I felt a call to undertake this work. Without delay, I signed an agreement with the French government and agreed to cover part of the expense of restoration. The cathedral is the most visited Parisian monument; a place of grace where tourists and faithful can have a spiritual experience. Notre Dame is still a place of communion today where the French, whether Christian or not, like to meet to confide about their troubles, because it is a place of peace.”

How many descriptive words do you find in this quotation that reveal feeling, emotions?

A booklet printed by Scholastic and written by Susan Canizares caught my attention. Canizares reminds us “there are many kinds of emotions” and adds a paragraph of our challenge to understand the feeling of fear that is present at some time with most children.

The May/June issue of the magazine “Bookmarks,” contains an essay on Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The essay by Jessica Teisch writes that Ishiguro is, “One of the most deceptive storytellers alive today. In his eight novels, he has taken the reliably unreliable narrator to its artistic zenith.”

Born in Nagasaki in 1954, Ishiguro, whose mother had narrowly survived the city’s bombing, left Japan at age five when his oceanographic father took a job with the British government. The author didn’t return to Japan until a book tour in 1989. The nation nevertheless strongly influenced his writing. He said, “I had a very strong emotional relationship to Japan that was severed at a formative age.”

He writes of his possible “other life” and adds to his written themes where he explores regret, secrecy, loss, hypocrisy, bafflement, love, struggle, the moral order, and what is mysterious.

Again, my suggestion is to unravel the theme of feelings from the man’s writing.