by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for another 50 years. What you would want to do? What are the important things that you would put on your list of things to accomplish? Of course, if you do not already one, then there is the need to make a family. That takes a good wife (or husband). Surely, you will also need a good income to provide for all of the children whom you plan to bring into the world. And obviously you will need a nice home for them. Besides all this, you probably would like to do something good for the world. You want to leave your mark here before you go. And don’t forget the need to discover your spiritual purpose. Fine, all this makes perfect sense.
Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for only five more years. What would your priorities be then?
Well, unless you already have one, creating a family would not make so much sense now. If you are going to live for only five more years, who would take care of those little kids? If you already have a family, you would want to quickly provide whatever you could to sustain them after you are gone. And if they are taken care of, what would be the most important things that you would want to accomplish? Maybe, you would want to do as many good deeds as you possibly could. So, if there really is a World to Come, and if your position there will to be determined by what you do here, then it certainly makes sense for you to spend your remaining time helping this world to become a better place. And surely you would want to spend more time thinking about spiritual matters. All these seem to be logical things to do.
Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for only five more minutes. What would you want to do right now? Well, there is no time left to do good deeds. And forget about leaving your mark on the world; you will barely have enough time to call your loved ones to say goodbye. Maybe you had just better start praying: “G-d I have no time left to do anything but to ask You for forgiveness for my having wasted most of my life and for all of the improper things that I did.”
Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you have only one more minute left to live, and that minute is ticking away. What would your priorities be?
Maybe you would just say “Hear, O’Israel, the L-rd our G-d, Hashem Is One” and if you have any time left, then say it again.
What is the point here? All of the above scenarios are possibly true, and there is no way of knowing which one applies to each of us right now. No one knows how much time he has left. Maybe we have this amount of time, maybe more, maybe less. Since we do not know how much time we have left, we better set out to accomplish our priorities now.
Say the Shema (Hear O’Israel . . .), make a family, earn a livelihood, make a home, find your spiritual purpose, say goodbye to everyone you walk away from, help the world to become a better place. Do it all, while you can. Take care of whatever is in front of you at this moment, and always be on the lookout for opportunities to do more. Then, no matter when you are taken from this world, you will have done the best that you possibly could.