Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

All too often, we are faced with issues that can, at times, boggle the mind and cause anguish and despair. It is especially true in these trying times. We are witnesses to unimaginable horrors. People are murdered. People are exiled. People are displaced from their homes. Anyone who can muster any type of hope for the future is certainly hard pressed to do so. Yet, there are people who still cling to the belief that with an optimistic approach to life, all will be right.

Not long ago I read an article listing “six little stories” in which the value of life and its blessings are depicted attending to our need for confidence and assurance:

There was a village where people gathered together to pray for rain. On that day, the whole town showed up, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That, my friends, is FAITH.

When you throw a baby in the air, he or she will laugh because they understand you will catch them. That’s TRUST.

As we journey further into life, we go to bed not knowing if we will see the next sunrise, but still we set our alarm to wake us up. That’s HOPE.

As time marches on, we make plans in spite of not knowing if there is a future. That is CONFIDENCE.

We see suffering and misery, but still we get married and have children. That is LOVE.

And then there was an old man who had written on his shirt, “I am not 80 years old. I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.” That is ATTITUDE.

We all have doubts and fears. Our country seems to be lost in some uncontrollable tailspin. The world has gotten away from us. We look at our neighbors with suspicion. Our identity is lost somewhere in the past.

Still we celebrate holidays and life-cycle events, because we have confidence that all will be right. We sit next to each other in our church or synagogue, sing our hymns, mouth our prayers and feel the love we have for each other. Most of all, we leave these sacred places with the attitude that we can and will be better people.

There certainly are episodes of doubt. Some of these doubts boggle the mind, but still we march on. This is what faith is all about.

Some will ask, “As we age, what is there to hope for or feel optimistic about? For that matter what kind of love is left for us or, perhaps, what is faith? As we progress in age, these questions preoccupy us to the point of despair. That is, if we allow them.

Here is something to dwell on; our vibrancy may have been diminished, but not our enthusiasm; we may not be as spry as we once were, but we know that we can take that next step; we have determination to complete our journey with heads held high because we have and continue to contribute to the value of life; we have confidence in ourselves – even though we go through periods of doubt; most of all, we are hopeful – remembering what we were and excited about what we mean to others.

We can feel good about ourselves because our attitude tells us that we are relevant – as relevant as we were yesterday, and even more relevant tomorrow.

Faith, trust, confidence, love, attitude – all the ingredients necessary for a life of fulfillment.