Generations X, Y and Z and Immortality

    At 105 years Moshe suddenly stopped going to synagogue. His Rabbi asked, "How come we don't see you at services anymore?"
   Moshe looked about and whispered, "I'll tell you, Rabbi. When I got to be 90, I expected God to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, 100, then 105. I figured God must have forgotten about me, and I don't want to remind him."
    As a Baby-Boomer I assert that God has not yet forgotten me. I try to see the signs and hear God’s promptings as I attune my ear to his Word. I have noticed that many of those who followed us, Generation X, Y and Z, are too busy to hear, too distracted to reflect, but too intelligent to ignore the calling of God.  
    Annie Dilliard asserts: “One should write as if posthumously …. Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case.”
    We can joke about it, but in the end, we are all born with an expiration date. Death, it can be argued, came about after God’s plan was adjusted to accommodate Adam and Eve’s (our) failings. We are all in the plan. 
    Some of us are more conscious of its unfolding and make deliberate adjustments. In the end we hope that all will get chicken, heavenly fried; the wines clear and well-aged (Isaiah 25:6). That is good news!
    God wants us to live well, but he also wants us to die well. There is a tremendous gracefulness required to die well. This is something that is too rarely spoken about. “The Church needs a world-class program to help us deal with all these very practical issues surrounding our departure from this life.” (DYNAMIC CHRISTIAN).
    There is an inviting story of an ancient legend which holds that when an infant is created God kisses its soul and sings to it. As its guardian angel carries it to earth to join its body, she also sings to it. The legend says that God’s kiss and his song, as well as the song of the angel, remain in that soul forever – to be called up, cherished, shared, and to become the basis of all our songs.
    This week I was blessed with a song that haunted me with its truths and mysteries. “Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall / To brown and to yellow they fade /And then they have to die.” Phil Och’s “Changes” is fascinating in its truth.
    Seasons turn and teach us about life and death and God’s eternal cycle of things. Insects and plants come and go , sometimes in hours or days. Mankind gets many years to grow and mature and explore the mysteries of things eternal.
    What a blessing that we of all creatures get so much time to ponder mysteries. One of Och’s song lines says: “Like petals in the wind / We're puppets to the silver strings of souls / Of changes.”
    Poetry fascinates me. We can “dream about the pictures that” the poet plays “Of changes”. Love and life is beautiful, but it will end on that “rolling river shore / Of changes.” Life is too wonderful to squander in meaningless existence.
    Praise God from whom all blessings flow! And the doxology hymn concludes: Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

(575 words)

By Ken Rolheiser