Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
Okay, bad things happen to us. Bad things happen to all people, regardless of age. Things that cause pain are real and lasting. When we were younger, we felt invincible. Now we are feeling vulnerable.
Our youth was spent dreaming. As we age, we tend to remember the past, but with a new understanding of our fallibility, not sure about the future and especially not about our place in this new chapter.
There is death and fear, as we get older. Life seems to have gotten away from us. When we were younger, we wanted to be older. When we age, we want to be younger again. Once we laughed with intensity, and now it seems more remote. We seem to concentrate on ailments, both real and imagined. We talk about doctors and hospitals as though they were supermarket adventures.
What has happened to us? Once we were vital and energetic, and even daring. Now we are afraid to travel life’s road because we are not sure about the return. Once we loved with a passion that made us tingle, and now we discuss it, laughing because it comes in a prescription. Once we were out in the sunshine, now we hide in the shade. Days blend with other days, and nights just never end.
Wake up! It is time to understand that though we are more mature, we are more vital and still have so much to offer. We are essential to our friends and family. Most of all, we are indispensable to ourselves. Aging is a graceful process. Aging brings dignity. We have an advantage no one else has. We have been there. We have done that. Now we are there doing it better because of those experiences.
Some travel the globe, not in search of some magical potion to keep us young, rather to ensure that we remain relevant. We may lose friends, but we can gain new ones. Groucho Marx once remarked that at a certain time in our life, we go to bed hoping that we will feel better in the morning. As we age, we go to bed hoping that we will have a morning. Our thoughts seem to gravitate to the end, rather than our endurance.
It is our responsibility to continue dreaming. We had visions, and now those visions are our todays. But we still dream because lives are filled with dreams of what is. Dreams are our present visions and will help us determine our new future.
Yes, bad things happen. They happen to everyone. Good things keep us vibrant and make us useful and are a greater part of who we are. Reliance on God will steer us through the bad times and help us rejoice in the good. Life is to live, and the rainbow in the sky put there by God will do what is was intended to do – give us hope.