Marvin Repinski: When our eyes are opened to beauty

Published 5:34 pm Friday, December 2, 2022

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“Every good gift is from above.” (The Bible: James 1:17) “He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalm 23:2).

A person I knew once said, “when I was little I hated green peas. I hated their taste. I hated their smell. And I hated their ugly green color. One day my father served us green peas. ‘You don’t have to eat the whole helping; just one bite.’ “I don’t want any!” ‘Just sit at this table; when you decide to try one bite you can leave.’”

Sometimes a little push or seeing the action of someone else or not seeing, tasting, looking or actually, finally enjoying something not to our interest, hearing or viewing is the way to a beautiful life.

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Christmas in our neighborhood is full of green. Lawns may be parched but what dazzles are the winsome decorations.

The verse from the Psalms attributed to the biblical character, David, is a reflection of the peace, satisfaction and grandeur that he found. Whether the many rounds of terror, upset, disappointments and fear, he did find the places of beauty!

Under several headings, I can identify areas of life that move our hearts to “Wow! I’ll be back.” “What did that rehearsal cost them?” “how did so many colors come together?” “What is it in that building that attracts my attention or when I see that person  — yes  — I look more than once!”

We are attracted to what we may term beautiful. Get it? Yes, it’s in you to be moved, to talk about, to look again and again. What moves your heart. Is it like an instinct?

How do we acquire, expand, or press to our heart the memory of what we experienced as having the characteristics of beauty?


Do you have an early memory of playing with dominoes? I recall, with a friend, putting two sets of them together and making animals. We were in glee over the “inventiveness” of our creations. We were teaching ourselves the satisfaction of making something.


My brother helped me buy a wagon out of paper boy delivery money. Bright red, with fancy lettering and decorated wheels. That was really something!


When it happened it lived on and on. It was the hours that a Luther Seminary professor, Robert Roth, spent leading a tour with our class through the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The beginning for me was the view of art, sculpture, and weaving in various museum galleries.


In the book “Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance,” the author, Atul Gawande, writes of both failures and monumental successes. One reviewer stated “I found I had been gripping the book so hard that my fingers hurt.” I identify with that! It’s like a search and then finding great art forms.


If we were schooled to say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” that must be you and me. The well known writers and inventors of almost any item we can identify: dog shows, auto displays, nature trails, beauty contests, building, architectural marvels, home decor, clothing, sports events with daring plays, the fabulous design of churches, inside and out (alter areas), farmers’ fields, the layout of city parks, food displays, designs of neckties, hair styles, grooming, the arrangement of an orchestra, the volunteer display at a food market, and, of course, a multitude of creations you can identify.

Beauty is all around us. And how our visiting cousins, here for Christmas, will naturally wish for us to drive them around our community. We are looking forward to seeing the decorated homes, the displays, and the manner in which some Christmas trees are decorated, like my neighbor Joe by Skinner’s Hill. How does he climb up so high to put on the lights and decor? Please smell, taste, see, and with one another, agree there is beauty in this world. Let’s not miss it!