Marvin Repinski: Everybody wants a part of me

Published 4:36 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

“I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.” (The Bible, (Matthew 25:35)

My writing is often a suggestion, even a plea, for the reader to “go for it,” “make something of your skills,” “Take the next step.”

My thinking today is in the vein of saying take care of yourself, love yourself, and take time to forget about all those outside requests!

I am reminded of reading Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial,” about a man who is living with biting accusations. He is endlessly blamed — at least in his imagination — with no clear idea of what or why. All this person knows is that he is guilty. Guilty of what? What crime might there be?

For him, there is the essence, the foreboding and darkness at all times and circumstances — “being on the losing side.” Some may say, “that’s Kafka with his seemingly odd or challenging novels.”

A thought. Best not to get hung up on being so involved that loss is possible. Maybe there is good reason to not be involved! Maybe you honor yourself by throttling down; by saying “no;” to just be selfish? Think about taking care of yourself. Now, that’s a high calling!

We are told that a drop of water is a universe in itself. It is not merely hydrogen and oxygen. It is populated and is rich with life. A former pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, wrote and spoke so wisely of our lives. It’s why, I suppose, that when a student at the University of Minnesota, I often attended the worship services at that church. That pastor for many years was Arnold Lowe.

The insight he shared in one sermon, was that under a microscope, that drop of water, “reveals a teaming world. In every clod of earth is a cosmos — a world, a universe. So is every moment of our lives. It pulses with meaning. God is in it — what warning then is in that thought? It may save us from many a hurt and redeem us from a folly and keep our feet from many a wrong place. What comfort there is in that thought.”

Today’s remarks are about taking care of ourselves and that is not selfish. It is essential. We will be ill-prepared to “take on the battles” unless we are like warriors; strong and prepared to face the foes, the conflicts, the disappointments of life.

But I hear voices saying, “Marvin, there is much to do. I’ve made so many promises. The voices say I have a world of tasks to do, appointments, obligations, and people keep asking for more.” Yes, we all hear such voices. That’s why we now speak to ourselves. This is what we say:

Some parts of me will not be given away.

  You don’t have to hug yourself, but the way to keep your sanity and conserve what you value, is to be who you are. It’s best to know when your flesh is being torn. And how does that happen? It’s when you get an abundance of requests in the mail with an urgent word followed by how many people in an unknown country can be fed.

You are asked to give a dozen religious organizations, saying on the return envelope: “Now you’ll be blessed by God.” I do give — and to many — but this one I write “I gave at the office.” It’s a letter: The plight of East St. Louis is utterly gross and you can eliminate the poverty by sending a check: $5, $25, $50, $100.

The knock is at the door. “I represent the City; we note you already pledged — the needs are insurmountable — can you raise your $100 pledge to $200?” Thank you, but I’ll continue supporting Pacelli Schools!

The flyer came in the mail. “For the cause of a new volleyball court in Rochester. Donations of automobiles and tractors are needed. It’s best if they still run.” My answer: “Then how will I be able to take my disabled neighbor to his appointment at the clinic?”

The world — the big world and our smaller world — is desperate with needs that caring people do respond to. But to sufficiently care for but one: wisdom is not to short-circuit your own basic maintenance. Note please, my family is part of me. They say, “neglect me not.”

Again to emphasize my theme; self-nurturing is to be desired, to be a part of one’s larger life. Our lending is often to care-take others and neglect ourselves. Self-neglect is too often the reality of highly motivated, busy persons. That hurtful behavior is now calling us to reverse that course.

Today I’m writing about an observation of myself, co-workers and friends who are panting and too often tired when pleasing others is draining their inner core. I came across an article that has me learning.

In halting Spanish, I cite an expression: “Ahorita Vengo.” Translated: “I’ll be back in a little while.” Let’s hope when we do come back, it will be with renewed priorities!