Marvin Repinski: When loving is the answer

Published 5:35 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

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Follow the death of Saul, a principle leader of Israel. David became King. What is written of Saul’s son Jonathan, is a beautiful history.

David’s kindness is expressed: “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan. Very pleasant you have been to me. Your love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women.” (Bible, II, Samuel 1:26)

His banner over me was love … I am sick of love … his left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.” (Solomon’s Song of Songs, 2:4-6)

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It’s candy time, smooching time, holding hands time, and some people are involved in sweet talk! Valentines are not scattered to the wind, but directed to the hearts — one by one — to people who are loved.

Newscaster David Brinkley, the noted TV personality, held our interest for a number of years. He preferred to use the term “Anchor Man” and yet he and his three sons were recognized for a top spot in the media world. Many of us admired him. He once said, “during the Presidential campaign of 1960, while in West Virginia covering Hubert Humphrey’s campaign, voters were less interested in the candidate; they were seeking to get Brinkley’s autograph. His response, “at the end of the day, I’m like a squeezed lemon.”

Appreciation is another name for love.

Some addictions may serve our well-being. I’m referring to catching the news, especially when we are not at work or appointments; like evening news. This household has a  TV turned to channels 12, 2, or 27; and now and then a Fox news or sports channel. I term this the addiction of always wanting to know how the world spins. And, of course, we can always get notice of who is “out of love” and who is now “in love.”

One of my definitions of love is taking the actions in the larger community, and the commitments to even one other person. The lines, stated as a poem by T.B. Larimore, reads:

“Take my hand in yours, children of my soul; comfort now and strengthen me —mother’s growing old! See the snows of many years crown my furrowed brow. As I’ve loved and petted you, love and pet me now! Lay your hand upon my head, smooth my whitened hair; I’ve been growing old the while you’ve been growing fair. I have toiled and prayed for you—ask not why or how—as I’ve loved and petted you, love and pet me now! Take my frail hand in yours, children of my heart. Mother’s growing old; your love is life’s sweetest part. Touch with love my faded cheeks, kiss my anxious brow; as I’ve loved and petted you, love and pet me now. Take my frail hands in yours, hold them close and strong; cheer me with a fond caress, ‘twill not be for long; youth immortal soon will crown with its wreath my brow. As I’ve loved and petted you, love and pet me now! Take my frail hands in yours, this your heart will prove; if you owe me anything, pay the debt with love! Press me in your strong young arms, breathe a loving vow—as I’ve loved and petted you, love and pet me now!”

My observation is that there are many ways to give and receive love. Even though the word love is not employed, its many variations are employed in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the life of Abraham Lincoln, “And There Was Light,” by Jon Meacham. He writes a number of paragraphs on the grief of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd and Lincoln. I am moved by the descriptions of the early childhood deaths of sons Eddy and Willie.

“The dense grief of the parents was overwhelming Mary,” writes Meacham. Quoting people surrounding her “recalled she lay prostrate, stunned, turning away from food completely, unable to meet the disaster.” The funeral for these children was at Springfield’s First Presbyterian Church. In his pain, Lincoln, in that place, “came into the room and picked up a card which lay on the table.” An observer recalled, “it was the last prescription written by the doctor for the child. Abraham looked at it — then threw it from him, and bursting into tears, left the room.”

What has so much meaning to me, as it has been in numerous times when I was the minister officiating at funerals, is not only the grief, the tears, the questions, but the love of so many, the hugs of caring family and friends. What, as in the case of the Lincolns, placed a tenderness in the anguish of loss? Love!

Moving in this essay to another arena, that of music, my suggestion is for the reader to make efforts to allow the beauty and density of the many forms of music to baptize the heart. A friend recently talked about a Country Music concert she attended in Rochester. She and her husband, Scott, are still walking on the rhythms!! And there is the upcoming event of the Austin Symphony Orchestra at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 at in Knowlton Auditorium, Austin High School.

How is love driven deep into the soul? A major way is the majesty of sound — the sounds of music!

Indira Ghandi aids our conclusion with her insight. “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” And we cannot fail if we embrace Chapter 13 of the New Testament reading on LOVE. Especially we may think about verse one: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”