Marvin Repinski: To see life anew

Published 5:21 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

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“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and fatling together, and the little child shall lead them.” (The Bible, Isaiah 11:6)

We may, if we want, live out of images, dreams, and expectations of what the possibilities are in seeking the common good. What is best for me may well be the best for you! May we please foster a lifestyle that lets go of the past. That at times has hindered us, and opened our doors of imagination to what will bring newness?

A quotation by a reformer, Jane Addams, penned these words: “The good we secure for ourselves is precious and uncertain until all of us incorporate it into our common life.”

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This “until,” speaks of is in small ways, completed tasks, and the manner of life we desire.

The writer, Tracy Kidder, has written in his book “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” of some of the devotion and accomplishments of Dr. Paul Farmer. Dr. Farmer’s years of labor and example of spirituality was in Haiti. This small nation with overwhelming problems, suffering, and destruction, has recently been in the news. Dr. Farmer developed a shorthand statement, “the O for the P.” His talents were given for what he called on others to embrace: The option for the poor. He developed the organization Partners in Health.

This organization was encouraged by Pope John Paul II with words calling for social change and justice. He wrote: “This is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

Thinking of this challenge over and over, I realize my limitations. At one time I had full calendars of church and community involvement seven days a week. A friend said —  and she did say it —  “don’t you have time for me?” As a close friend, she desired to see more of me.

The pope has some insights, talents, and a world view that many of us can put to use. The newspaper page upon which my weekly essay appears, lists how many churches? Count the number of churches, chapels and meeting places that invite the public. Just what overwhelming glory and positive developments might increase in Mower County? Not to say the Eagles organization and many other organizations are not placing stars in the skies, but new avenues of strength may be expanded.

The little rhyme by Robert Louis Stevenson:

“When I am grown to man’s (woman’s) estate,

I shall be very proud and great.

And tell the other girls and boys,

Not to meddle with my toys.”

Expanding on the title of this essay — how is life renewed?

From the September issue of the magazine The Sun are a generous number of submissions under the title “Readers Write.” Please read at least two times with thoughts of dirt that may have been thrown in your face!

But the ending —  read three times —  what do you make of it? Heather Henricks of Felton California writes:

“In fifth grade I became the target of a classmate named David, a blocky boy with thick fingers and a crew cut, who harassed me every bus ride. He would hang over the top of my seat and taunt me mercilessly. His favorite insult was “carpenter’s dream,” which I came to learn, meant I was flat chested. Eventually my anger reached a boiling point. On the ride home from school, I slid low in my seat with my legs drawn to my chest. I had intentionally worn boots with thick rubber soles that day. When David peered over my seat to deliver the afternoon’s abuse, I slammed my foot into his face. He never saw it coming. For days afterwards, he slumped around school with a bruise on his forehead containing the faint but legible name of my boot brand, Dexter. Shortly after this incident, David’s family moved, and I put him out of my mind. A few years later I received a hand-written letter from David. He apologized for the way he had treated me and admitted that it was a poor tactic for seeking my attention. One line still stays with me: “What a horrible way to treat a beautiful girl with a lovely smile.” (Heather Henricks, Felton, California)

A line that sticks with Heather, opens a window to some of us.

“Therefore all things whatsoever you would that persons should do to you, do also, even so, to them.” (Matthew 7:12)