Marvin Repinski: Hold on — the rope is strong

Published 4:43 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

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A rope is made of intertwined strands of various fibers, pieces of plastic, wire, or even human hair. The purpose of creating a thick cord, a rope, is to keep various items plaited or united in a manner that may create a strength to hold, lift, or support a chosen item of merchandise or a person.

My selecting seven items, values, and needs that can be attached to a swinging rope, represents that which we can not live without. What binds us together as a nation? Love, tenacity, hospitality, endurance, recovery, tradition, and faith. In thinking of those resources that grant you hope in times that rip and tear at your life, please add other virtues. These words are the strands in the rope that we hold on to!

One: Love is expressed in the novel “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison, which covers the ground for, I believe, all of us.

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“Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off, and leave empty. Love your hands. Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ‘cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you!….This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved.”

Two: Hospitality is a manner of relating to other people. The open door and shared conversation are among its avenues. Also, a saying: “Tell me who your heroes are, and I’ll tell you who you’ll turn out to be!” I read a fact from the life of billionaire Warren Buffet; of what his first wife, who died in 2004, meant to him. Maybe couples can be seen as a partnership of hospitality. Buffet often mentioned the inspiration of his wife — what happened to him, he has written, would not have happened without her.

Three: Tenacity is a mark like an iron will; not selfish or blaming, but a resource deep in our resolve. A regal lady who expressed all the hurts that life could throw at a person, Mary McLeod Bethune, wrote: “If we have the courage and tenacity of our forebears, who stood firmly like a rock against the lash of slavery, we shall find a way to do for our day what they did for theirs.”

Four: Recovery can be applied to the life of a person who has beaten an addiction to alcohol, drugs, and self-defeating behaviors.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you.” (Psalm 19:14)

Five: Endurance reminds me of the short story “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” I’m not just thinking of the 100 plus times a referee runs back and forth on a basketball court! To observe every play — every dribble, every foul, every tip-off, every shot, every substitution, every struggle under the boards and more — the man or woman who is refereeing a basketball game is an example of not going to the locker room before the end of the game, and for me, enjoyment is to see how a referee can run backwards! Yes, just watch next time when you are a fan and consider how you will apply your skills to the “game” you are playing!

Six: Traditions that are wrapped in knowledge, learning, being a good neighbor, emotional balance, and expending “the good” in the avenues of one’s community — that will save the day, every day from any violence that is shot from a rooftop. The hatred, resentment, and vindictiveness is not to be cultivated when there are churches, clubs, schools, athletics, music and parents who are hugging their kids.

Seven: Faith is not blind acceptance or a tranquilizer, lies, fakery, or beliefs that do not rest in reason and common sense. There is more to any definition of faith. It is found and taught in most major world religions; that belief must stand against treachery, war, criminality, revenge, soul sickness and divisions.

Most religions, and maybe what we term life-affirming sects, have rules, creeds, belief systems, guiding principles, and teachers who exemplify what is regarded as the true, good, and beautiful — to borrow a phrase. Two of the abbreviated statements of both Christian and Jewish teachings that I find helpful are as follows:

“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” — (Proverbs 18:4)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” — (Psalm 119:105)