Marvin Repinski: When the sand is in your eyes

Published 4:46 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (The Bible, Psalm 8:4)

The TV news of the day is blaring forth. It’s not reassuring, pleasant, uplifting, and is downright ugly. In my hands, I’m thumbing through a publication called “Acorn.” The cover has a handsome man standing close to a pleasant looking woman. His right hand is on her upper left arm. They are dressed elegantly. The pitch in this publication is for what we once termed “the beautiful people.”

“What’s in the publication?,” you ask. A lot of the top shelf merchandise is marked “Imported.” And the T-shirts have words to help the kids in your second grade class. “Like what?” you ask. A small photo of a lawn mower and in large letters: LAWN ORDER. Add to that the invitation to buy a complete set of all of Mozart’s music for $249.95.

I’m still reading and the sand is still in my eyes! But then you must be interested in what other large-sized T-shirts you can order: “I still play with Trains” or “Sometimes I talk to myself; then we both LAUGH and LAUGH.”

My makeup  — physical, emotional, intellectual, and hopefulness won’t let go of me. I am, by constitution, tradition, and thinking through a lot of options on believing, and to the point, believing in a good God. That belief makes it easy, but difficult today to pray: “Eternal God, companion of those who journey, assure us of Your presence.” Now the sand has moved from my eyes to my mouth.

My writing this essay is to give an honest response to people who are in a state of doubt, grief, disappointment, or who struggle against religious beliefs. By that, I mean confessions, teachings, writings in Holy Books, guilt, being dismissed by the “believer crowd,” or seeing contradictions in what is affirmed by the faithful. You could add more to your being bothered by a maze of contradictions.

You possibly share the shame, the seeming impossibility of clutching to your heart the comfort of any God. You may even find a blend of hope mixed with apprehension in books like “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” the Pulitzer Prize treatise by Jared Diamond. Another of his books is “Collapse.” What he has placed in print is similar to what our media brings us day-to-day. To be a “believer” is a climb up a very steep mountain!

My thinking this week is in part a smile with the wins of my favorite athletic teams while asking hundreds of questions. A God created a world filled with such pain, war, starvation, racism, the denial of women’s rights, cruelty, destruction, disease, revenge, betrayal, crime, selfishness and bitterness. And this week we think again of the madness of New York City and 9/11. This listing is the reality of the world for each of us. If you’re not in touch, you may be missing it.

Writing from week to week for a newspaper and general correspondence, is to say, “I’m on the side of compassion and join those who seek answers to the misery we acknowledge.” You may ask, “do thoughtful people and those with resources have the answer?” I join you in saying, “I am leaning into the challenges, the environment, the circle that is yet living with just a bit of optimism.

Getting personal, I can hear someone ask, “Marvin, with the sand in your eyes, I take it that while not denying the chaos that is in this world, you do point the way to a world that also has amazing beauty. Right?”

An old friend from the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Dottie Garwick, has written:

“How to spend time,

Taking moments to pray,

Budgeting my income

Choosing volunteer tasks

Preparing for death,

Reaching out to the sick

of body, mind and spirit.

Reading Scriptures and spiritual works

Being ready to forgive

Find inspiration everywhere.”

I am restless in embracing Dottie’s thoughts. Tears will wash some sand from my eyes.

We wish and work for two things. One is for the betterment of the world we live in; that world is for most of us, Mower County. The other is for our own well-being, our health. And lacking the health we desire and find stable, we seek the resources that will bring us satisfaction. The multiple departments of the Mayo Clinic, and doctors in private clinics are in our area. And we fortunate communities live in gratitude and are aware of the larger world where there is a critical lack of such resources. Our political involvement, our voting, is to sustain the government agencies that bring honest services to our public.

We are with intention, reflection, and with goals, living in a world of immense pressures. The fatal events surround this world. Yet we are creating a path, each one of us, that will bring wholeness. We seek light for our paths. And maybe even the light of the world.