Oh No, My Expiration Date is Looming!
We’ve all heard people say it, and we all say it ourselves too: “I’m not what I used to be.” Some of us were better looking long ago, had more money, more prestigious jobs, exercised with more vigor, etc. It is no secret that time wages a war of attrition against us mere mortals and slowly, but ever so surely, like a veritable Indian giver, it takes away all the gifts it once gave us. Observing life is like watching the battery bars on a cell phone. Slowly, slowly we watch the life force draining away. And we are always far from the charger just when we need it most.
Yes, too often I hear that negative sentence, “I’m not what I used to be.” And I wonder why we tend to mourn over what was instead of celebrating what can be? Maybe it’s because we value and idolize the wrong things. I’m of the strong opinion that there is only one thing in life that leaves us not "less than we used to be," but rather greater than what we ever were, and that is G-d's laws.
Countries and people only decline when they attach themselves to false gods, when they spurn morality and vacate religion from their lives and when they unplug themselves from the ONE true "charger": G-d. I have never heard a Torah scholar complain that he is upset that he is not as unlearned as he used to be or that he longs for the days when he had less good deeds under his belt. He is glad that he is not what he used to be because now he is even better.
One of my Torah teachers, Esther Jungreis, told me she never took a vacation her whole life because she said you only grow tired when you're running from something, not when you are running for something. Now in her elderly years, she is still running around the world teaching Torah and doing mitzvahs.
We can learn from the story of Esau how he was tired, even in his youth, because he was always pursuing the next big thing, going for the next big kill. He attached himself to this world alone and never attached himself to a spiritual outlet. He held Kurt Cobain's suicidal philosophy that, "It's better to burn out than to fade away." And he did. Every second in all of our lives we are continuously diminishing unless we are bringing light to the world and enriching not only our own souls but the universal soul. When G-d is our “charger” we don’t burn out and fade away; we become like the burning bush that is not consumed.
For 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot, Jews are now counting the omer and during this time we are obligated to work on ourselves to become better human beings more devoted and devout; we should be committed to becoming NOT “what we used to be” but rather what we never were and all that we were really meant to be! ______________________________________________ This blog has been sponsored by the Wordsmithy.