“Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: Bishvili nivra ha-olam “The world was created for me.” (BT Sanhedrin 37B) But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: V’anochi afar v’efer “I am but dust and ashes.” (Gen. 18:27)
There are many ways in which this blog has occasioned an emphasis this year on accepting that I am but dust and ashes. It is, after all, a very memento mori exercise.
However, the quotation above is something that a friend shared with me a few years ago that I think is very important to bear in mind when remembering our mortality.
There is a time to remember we are dust and there is a time for us to revel in the world that has been created for us.
The pandemic has created nearly global reflection on the vulnerability of our health, the precariousness of our plans, the limits of our existence.
There comes a time to reach into the right pocket and rediscover that the world was also created for us.
What can you do to revel in the gift that the world is for you?
How can you enhance your sensitivity to the miracle of everyday life?
Who can help (re)awaken in you a sense of joy and wonder?
May we not become dust before receiving the world as God is trying to give it to us.