“I just have a feeling you’re someone I can talk to,” he began. My curiosity was piqued. “I’m Jewish, I’m 76 years old, and I’m healthy but I’m getting older and I’m scared of dying. Can you share some Jewish wisdom about that?”
For a moment my mind raced with possible answers, information, resources. Then a feeling of awe struck me: this man is getting a knock on his heart’s door and he’s listening. Wow. I knew exactly what I wanted to share with him.
“There is something deep, deep inside of you that knows that life is a gift and that you don’t want to waste it. That might feel frightening to you but it’s valuable information. That’s your heart, your connection to God. It’s beautiful and it’s open. You can trust it. Keep following it!”
We spoke for 10 minutes, exchanged info, hugged and then wished each other farewell till later.
As I walked away I reflected on how moved I was. A man had felt an existential stirring, a need to seek wisdom, a connection with a complete stranger and he acted. What a partnership: Divine wisdom in a human heart.
Do we see the capacity of our own human heart to receive and hold Divine wisdom? Do we see how miraculous and yet how routine that is? If we don’t, how else will we vault past even mundane obstacles?
As my teacher, Rabbi Noah Weinberg, obm, used to say, “Know what you know!” You can know truth and wisdom in your heart. Look for that wisdom. Say thank you for it. There will be more. There’s no way to be the person, spouse, parent, child, leader you most want without it.