“The course of Life is unpredictable…no one can write his (her) autobiography in advance.”
These words were spoken by Abraham Joshua Heschel , a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. I really would had enjoyed having a long conversation with Rabbi Heschel to fully understand from his life experiences, how he came up with this provocative above statement. Many of us can firmly relate to all of the truism that are within this very short statement.
Just within eight hours of the first day of 2016, I was presented with the following:
- Two homeless men who were down of their luck, needing food and money.
- Contact with one woman who currently is failing to thrive.
- Two individuals who have personally choose not to survive (attempting suicide).
- Two souls who are needing careful around the clock care and evaluation (both in critical biological condition).
- Multiple family, friends and neighbors who are literally drowning in years of unresolved conflicts, personal crisis and catastrophe.
The single uniting common denominator between all of these situations that I experienced directly on yesterday, is the term: LIFE! And the very different dimensions by-which we all may live while we are here. Just as none of us decide when we will be born or when will we die, the same hold true with the reality that we many times have very little control over what we will encounter here on earth. Bernard M. Baruch writes, “The art of living lies less in the eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.”
Steps that lead to Shalom
Our suffering while on earth is no accident. Those of us who have experienced much suffering can agree to accept that suffering can be a major tool in forging spiritual virtues. In review of a passage from the Book of Wisdom:
“In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider-God has made the one as well as the other so that (human kind) may not discover anything that will be after them.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NAS
Our Creator has designed our human experiences on earth so we would encounter “adversity” thereby forcing us to evaluate our lives and the circumstances that control us. God equally wishes to educate us through human tragedy, the brevity of our time on earth-encouraging us not to squander the time that has been granted to us.
Finally, our Creator offers us a good and perfect plan to bring our human existence to a level of personal fulfillment and happiness regardless of what we must endure. Through some suffering [as opposed to health and wealth], each human can gain keen spiritual insight that will serve them on their life-journey toward maturity. [Excerpts from “Suffering With Dignity: The Pathway to Ultimate Shalom, pages 15-16 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478757078
“It is good to appreciate that life is now. Whatever it offers, little or much, life is now-this day-this hour.” -Charles Macomb Flandrau-
Grace and Peace
Alonzo E. Thornton
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