Marvin Repinski: Are we too old to celebrate the holidays?

Published 5:50 pm Friday, December 9, 2022

“The righteous flourish like a palm tree; planted as they are in the house of the Lord, they flourish in the courts of God, vigorous in old age like trees full of sap, luxuriant, wide-spreading, eager to declare that the Lord is just, the Lord is my rock, in whom there is no unrighteousness.”  (The Bible, Psalm 92).  Nicodemus said to (Jesus), “how can anyone be born after having grown old?”

Your writer, me, was born in the 1930’s. Am I old? Yes!  But I still babble, tie my own shoelaces, and love pizza. Does that make any of us old? To celebrate with age:  the imperfections, health situations, and the cane, walker, or wheelchair, the needing a hand to arm to steady us — yes and much much more.

Let us agree with a counselor of many people in several nations, Carl Jung, who writes in “Modern Man in Search of a Soul:”

“The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.”

Is that why I exchanged a fist-to-fist thank-you to an inspector for a boiler installation at our residence?  We all but hugged each other in laughter and in the glee of the last Minnesota Vikings football game. Yes, they won, and it was a big win!!

I am among many appreciative people who know some of the men and women in Austin who deliver Meals on Wheels. And some, as we say, are “up in years.”

The Mower County Senior Center is like a part-time haven with a wood-carving group, noon meals, and talk, talk, talk.  Many of these people are our friends, who are not going to jump rope and swim in the Cedar River, but they are giving and gaining. Great!

I know that some of them sing in church choirs and babysit their grandchildren. Rejoice, celebrate. Many are on the winning side!!

The once president of Harvard University, Nathan Pusey, in a speech to students, quoted the poet Percy Shelly, and his poem, “Adonais.”

“—-fear and grief

convulse us and consume us day by day.

And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.”

There days that even in the snow, the “worms” are out. Yet the students are reminded of “the adventures into space, the increasing opportunity for meeting of people across cultural barriers, the beauty of choral groups.”

Dr. Pusey also elaborated on the need for and necessity of life-long learning. My neighbors, the Christophersons, have three daughters. Two are in college after graduating from Pacelli Catholic Schools (Kayla and Kylee), and one is a senior in high school (Abigail). I’m sure, with the encouragement of parents, Peter and Diane, they will be happy in their third child finding the college of her dreams.

Again a poet, part of Wordsworth’s “Ode on Imitations of Immortality,” speaks of faith, acknowledging a favorite line of mine:  “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flowers.”  Also don’t forget the positive vote:  “We will grieve not rather find strength in what remains behind.”

A book authored by Drs. Catherine and Reg Hamlin, “The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope,” got to my inner self. They left Australia in 1950 with a short contract to establish a midwifery school in Ethiopia. What can bite, encourage any of us.  It’s now over 40 years and they are still there with medical programs giving healing options to thousands of women. The amazing example of the Hamlin’s compassion is a wide concern, the treatment of people, some  who are termed “outcasts.”

We can and will celebrate!!

A prayer:

O LORD, I was brought up to respect and listen to my elders — the wise ones.  I am suddenly aware that now I am considered the elder — the wise one.  How can that be?  For I am still a child at heart and I continue to seek the knowledge of the wise ones.

And yet each day people appear to be younger.  These young ones come to seek my advice.

God, you are the true wise one — how can it be that I would have any wisdom to give to your people?  How is it that the young ones become wise ones?  There is still so much that I don’t know, so much that I need to learn.

I, like Solomon of old, ask for your wisdom that I might have something to offer.  Amen.