APRIL SENIOR MOMENT with Liz David: “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES”

“OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES”

By Liz David

The World’s Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

A few months ago, my 11-year-old grandson Ben and I were in the kitchen. He was sitting at the table, patiently waiting for lunch. I was preparing to serve him the world’s greatest grilled cheese sandwich ever.

Out of the blue he looked up and said, “Nana, I hope you live a long time.”

“I hope so too,” I said, moved.  I thought all he was interested in was his X-box, play station, texting, and winning at Monopoly.

At the time, I was 80. Now, I’m 81.  I’ve already lived a long time.  I don’t know what living a long time means to an 11-year-old.  I didn’t probe or ask questions, but I’ve been thinking about this question off and on since then.

So what does living a long life mean to me?  Is it the fullness of years or just another number to strive for?  So I’m 81. Will I reach 82 and, if so, what difference will it make?  What difference will I make?  Is being here enough? Or am I just existing? Does my continued existence matter? Of course, my family and friends would say yes.  And I say yes too!

But is my yes important? Will I live to see my oldest grandchild—and also my youngest grandchild who is 7—graduate 6th grade, 8th grade, high school, college.  Will I see them have careers, get married, make me a great-grandmother? Unlikely.  Very unlikely. Impossible. Do the math!

For me, it’s important to not only live well into a “ripe old age” but also to live a meaningful old age. Yet, a very wise person once said to me that all God wants us to do is to “be.”  I ask myself, “How can I ‘be’ as I do?” A conundrum that gets me into, may I say the word, spiritual stuff.

Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.  Really?

So, how about a conversation?

SENIOR MOMENTS Feature Writers Eleanor Jaffe (left) and Liz David (right)

Years ago, when we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.”  I’m not sure whether or not I believed it then, and I’m wondering whether I believe it now. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “APRIL SENIOR MOMENT with Liz David: “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES””

  1. Thank you for those deep reflections, Liz.

    I think I hear echoes of “is it enough to be, or must we also do, and if so, what?” Libraries have been written on this subject, of course. One person, much wiser than I am, told me long ago something that has stuck with me, “We give meaning to our lives by loving and creating.”

    Religious traditions have ideas about this — commandments, actually — that you are probably familiar with: in the Jewish tradition the concepts of tzedakah and mitzvoh, and in the Christian tradition the concepts of charity and mercy. Specifically, Christians look to the works of mercy commanded by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: visit the sick; visit the prisoner; welcome the stranger; bury the dead; feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; bear patiently those who wrong us; forgive offenses; pray for the living and the dead; and a few more that require knowledge, wisdom and tact: instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; admonish the sinner; console the afflicted. Those who are familiar with the Jewish scriptures will recognize that these are taken from Isaiah, Tobit, Ezekiel, Deuteronomy and Maccabees. Recent popes have suggested adding, “care for creation.”

    1. Hi Bruce, Thanks for your wise words. All of your references are welcome. I take the words of the prophets and biblical references seriously. The wisdom of the popes about caring for creation should be first,since everything else is contained in those words.
      So, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi’s words “all God wants us to do is to be” do not mean doing nothing but , rather, to do and be simultaneously. Be conscious, be there with our wholeness, with our whole “be-ing”.

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