Enjoy life as it was intended, but plant seeds SanTan Sun News

Enjoy life as it was intended, but plant seeds

Enjoy life as it was intended, but plant seeds
Spirituality
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By RABBI IRWIN WIENER

Guest Columnist

In ancient writings we are instructed to remember that a person will be called to account on Judgment Day for every permissible thing that he might have enjoyed but did not.

Not for sins or destructive attitudes or not following the Law…but for not enjoying life as it was intended.

Think about it — we concentrate on the punishment we supposedly will receive for the evil we perform…and yet we are reminded that our only punishment will be for not enjoying children or parents, or loved ones, or the beauty of trees and flowers — the smells of the seasons.

Some of us think about what could or should have been and get stuck in the mire of things we cannot do anything about.

We can’t change the past and, in some instances, have no control over the future. We think that things happen because they are “ordained.” As if some mystical power was dictating our destiny.

If that were true then there would be no need to do anything — just sit back and let things happen. We would still be in the Garden of Eden prancing around in the grass or picking fruit from the trees without a care in the world. Choice is not an option.

The great statesman Disraeli wrote that man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men.

So here we are in the twilight of our years and still worried about what might have been or thinking if we had it to do all over, we would. Our concentration should be about the legacy we leave, the impact we have had and the beauty of the time left. The past is gone — the future is just ahead.

What can we leave — what impact can we have — what value is there to the life ahead?

We should take the time to think about tomorrow. Now is the time for rejoicing, not for experiencing guilty feelings. Now is the time to take stock and realize that we still have life in these old bones — these tired muscles — these war-torn bodies.

It is a time for us to realize that life has been good — there are rough roads ahead as we venture into unchartered waters. Some of us will celebrate milestones. Some of us will encounter turbulence. Some of us will realize that the journey of life includes all that we are capable of enduring.

There is the story of the elderly man who was planting trees in his back yard.

A neighbor asked him why he was planting the trees because for sure he would not be there to see them grow.

His reply was very simple. He remarked that the generations that preceded him had planted the trees that now give him shade and fruit and enjoyment — and it was his responsibility to plant for the next generation as did the generation past.

The legacy we leave is everlasting. The memory of who we were will resonate for eternity. Death is not the end of our journey but just another part of that journey.

Sometimes we concentrate too much on the end and not enough on the middle. Some of us are concerned about eternal life and not enough about the life we are living. Some of us are concerned with eternal reward and not about the rewards we encounter every day.

We must not devote our energies toward death but rather life — we can’t have a life if we are not alive.

Let us remember that these days are for rejoicing in the fulfillment of enjoying our lives, for that is the message of the ages — the message encased in the wisdom we inherited — the message that we will be judged on the satisfaction we receive in living life to the fullest.

Most of all, however, will be what we plant for the future.

Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D., is a National Chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and he is the spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

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