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One Woman's Opinion

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The Baptist Chimes

Mary Wakefield Buxton

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— One supreme pleasure in living in the town of Urbanna is hearing the Baptist chimes. They are played each morning, noon and evening. I can just manage to hear them from my home on Kent Street.

They take me back to childhood summers on Lake Erie in Vermilion, Ohio, when I worked as a teenager as a waitress at the rambling old Linwood Park Hotel overlooking the lake. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner the chimes in the old tabernacle rang as I walked to work.

When I hear the Baptist chimes my thoughts settle on the possibility of God. Now, I am the sort with a strong allegiance to science that has always questioned the existence of God, I think that doubt is a healthy exercise, but I side on hope that there really is a positive force working in the universe that will always be a mystery to the human mind that inspires humanity to causes of good works.

Here are some other thoughts that pass through my mind when I hear the Baptist chimes:

  1. First and always I am reminded of the great and universal messages of Jesus to love one’s neighbor and seek to be of a forgiving nature. Thank you, Christianity, for spreading this positive word amongst the many peoples of the world. They are civilizing concepts that inspire brotherhood and peace in an often negative environment.

  2. I think about my own responsibility to develop tolerance and respect for other heritages far beyond my own small-town Ohio upbringing. We are all alike . . . and yet we are all very different: We come from many diverse places and backgrounds with individual experience, ethnicity, heritage and history.

    As we mature we hope we can start to appreciate the background and experiences of all people. It’s a mighty leap from believing one is right and others are wrong to reaching a point on the thought spectrum that is inclusive, tolerant and respectful of others. I don’t always make the leap but I do keep trying. Persistence is also an admirable trait.

  3. When I hear the chimes I am reminded I want to do whatever I can to help others: We may not be able to do much good individually but if everyone took up just one good deed each to help another (including homeless dogs and cats) we can do a lot of good. Passing along a good word to others instead of sharp criticism is also beneficial.

    I am always inspired by John F. Kennedy’s famous quote from his inauguration day: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”  

  4. I want to be thankful rather than of a complaining nature: But I love to complain! I get so mad at myself when I hear myself cranked up in high complaint mode every now and then. I just can’t help it! I love to complain and I do it splendidly. No one can complain as well as I can! And by the time I’m finished with my latest tirade you would think an unfortunate hangnail on my little finger was of the same proportion as the recent flood in Houston!

    Well, the chimes help me get back on track. Be of a grateful heart. No one has a perfect life and, as Donald Trump’s campaign song states: “You can’t get everything you want.” I want to be of an appreciative heart and let complaints go. Maybe one day I can get there with a whole lot of listening to the Baptist chimes.

  5. As we mature as human beings we are expected to give up provincial thinking and finally begin to see our larger, universal human connection. We hope to develop character, tolerance and understanding along with a deep love and respect for our fellow man. Such realizations help us tolerate diverse differences in opinions. If we want others to be tolerant of our views, then we have to be tolerant of others.

    It occurs to each of us, all in our own good time, that life is tough . . . not for just some people, but for all people. Somehow knowing this truth helps us develop empathy that grows into true brotherhood.

  6. Lastly, the Baptist chimes remind me to doubt my own opinions . . . to cultivate a reflective nature rather than believe I am right. The truth is I could very well be wrong. Humility is also a God-given trait.

I am reminded of Rene Descartes and his “Cogito ergo sum.” I doubt therefore I exist. We might carry a more doubting nature in life, rather than blindly follow political and religious dogmas and regularly doubt what we solemnly believe to be true. But as we doubt, be kind and respectful to others who do not.

The Baptist chimes also invite us to have a good day! Come to Urbanna and listen to the Baptist chimes.


posted 09.13.2017

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