The End of Life

In the beginning of life, we try to get older until we are mature; as maturity evolves we try to be younger until we are old and then we only want to get older. I am already 73. The Torah sets seventy as being the span of life, after that we are old. Being old ain’t so bad. There is a freedom and a respect given for just making it through seven decades. Most people live lives with an assortment of good and bad—they call it life. The extremes of life have opposite conclusions because the end of life is so different from life.

Those who live happy lives, rarely sick, have money and people love them find the end of life to be onerous; partly because they have become irrelevant and forgotten and part because each new pain inflicts a pain yet unknown—whereas, those who have had a life of suffering and despair, at the end of life are able to withstand discomfort because the body remembers worse. The satisfaction at having overcome pain and difficulty is a pearl made smooth through constant irritation. Some people think, money is the way to freedom but this is not true. Money is a trap, buying an unsustainable confine. Meanwhile, life becomes what other people live.

For those poor souls who know only to take and consume and whose good deeds were done only to ingratiate themselves, find all is forgotten as life slips through the fingers of the open hand as death creeps near—here take it all, say the body at the end of life. There is a saying, better to give with a warm hand, meaning a live hand, than with a cold hand, meaning a dead hand. Dovid HaMelech who composed the Psalms was famous for saying, Even as the sword is upon the neck, there is still time to prayer. And I might add, do good deeds because the worst pain to be had in the future world is embarrassment.

Our country, USA, is built on the anthem of pursuit of happiness but that was not always the case. In the beginning the constitution read: Pursuit of purpose. Happiness is easy to ascertain because happiness is subjective but purpose is between the person their maker, Creator of Heaven and Earth who is everywhere, to everyone, all the time. Redemption comes through prayer and action. Those of us who are older will continue to be so until death arrives, the last and final arbiter of life. Being old is an honor, particularly for me who never thought in the chaos of the Sixties I would live to see thirty.

Life is full of surprises and nothing is as appears. Truth is illusive; love is transitory—in the end, each of us is alone in our relationship with the Creator. Our memory will fade from this temporal world and all which binds us here on this physical plane will break then will we see, between each one of us and God who created us, are infinite spiritual worlds.

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