Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
The saying goes that art imitates life and that is true in most instances. One thing is for sure, movies such as this 1956 one can make you feel glad and, at the same time, make you feel sad. It is like life. We have moments of ecstasy as well as disappointments.
The one emotion that can carry us through dark days and helps us rejoice when there is light is called love. It works in mysterious ways. When we love someone and are loved in return, we enter into the realm of divine fulfillment.
But then the worst happens and we lose someone we love, and that hurt is too much to bear. We try to reach for some magical occurrence that will bring back our love so that the hurt will go away and our feelings of happiness return.
The days and nights are empty now. The touching and reaching are beyond our grasp. The marvel of a smile or a gleam in an eye seems so distant as if they never really were there at all. It is such a lonely sensation. Tears, like falling rain, fill our eyes and roll down our cheeks. Sometimes we cry uncontrollably and our body trembles. It is so awful. We are so desolate. I am reminded of the following story.
Once there was a student who was with a teacher for many years. And when the teacher felt he was going to die, he wanted to make even his death a lesson.
That night, the teacher took a torch, called his student, and set off with him through the forest.
Eventually, the teacher extinguished the torch, without explanation.
“What is the matter?” asked the student.
“This torch has gone out,” the teacher answered and walked on.
“But,” shouted the student, his voice plucking his fear, “will you leave me here in the dark?”
“No! I will not leave you in the dark,” returned the teacher’s voice from the surrounding blackness. “I will leave you searching for the light.”
Such is the path we should take when we lose a loved one. During their lifetime, they gave us light. They lit our path so that we could experience fulfillment. And when that light is gone, it really isn’t, because the flame that burned our passion is now embedded in our heart for all time. This is called memory.
Memory will not replace the intensity of the joy, but it will enable us to embrace the very depth of understanding the love that was shared created memory. Memory is the next step in the thrill-filled journey of life.
Sorrow is the rain, and the drops remind us of the tears we shed, and the miracle is that our affliction will be washed away together with the sadness. This is the legacy we inherited and now leave others.
To have loved and be loved is a miracle, whether in the rain or in the clear skies that dry up our tears. This is the true miracle.