This week as I watched one of my favorite shows “America’s Got Talent”, a strange sequence was broadcast. At the request of the performer’s parents, the audition of an amazingly talented 29 year old physician who liked to sing was aired. Unfortunately, the young man had died in an auto accident on June 19th. The information about his recent demise was displayed before the airing of his performance.
It was a truly bizarre feeling to be watching this young man, now known to be dead, but very much alive on the TV show. Sid and I watched his interview with the judges, his jocularity, his poise and amazing talent, as well as his reactions to the overwhelmingly positive comments from the judges. He was so happy and alive! They marveled at his versatility to be a person who serves others medically as well as one so gifted with a professional level singing voice.
Yet, we who watched, knew he was no longer alive.
In our lives we often have to balance the horrors of the news with our feelings of personal happiness and closeness to HaShem. I’m not sure how we are able to do so but am grateful that we can. The experience on AGT, however, was actually more challenging. For it brought knowledge of the young man’s tragedy, his untimely death, cognitively right alongside our experiencing his being alive. Even when we lose a loved one, unless we look at old movies, we are not feeling these two emotions, happiness and grief for someone, simultaneously with no time to prepare emotionally. No chance at my oft used cope mechanism compartmentalization. Rather, as I would watch him sing and hear the positive feedback from the audience and judges, I was at the same time feeling great sadness for the reality that he was gone from this realm.
The experience prompted the thought that perhaps as we live in these times of challenging headlines, at these same times when we experience our Abba’s presence through Yeshua in so many miraculous ways, that we are to live in the tension rather than try to temporarily forget the tsuris. Rather than diminish our joy, perhaps we are being challenged to appreciate it more deeply if we keep mindful of the struggles that are around us and within us even as we sense His presence. We as more mature believers in Yeshua no longer have the carefree happiness of our youth. And yet, we perhaps have the ability for an even deeper happiness as we have come to know how precious each moment of it is.
When Yeshua died on the cross for us, the pain was excruciating, the feelings of loss, despair for mankind’s failings. And yet He felt no greater love at that moment, both for and from His Father as well as for us, a love that was placed above all pain and suffering, above death, itself. As we venture out this week, hopefully engaging in moments filled with joy and happiness, may those times not be tempered by, but rather, be made stronger by the knowledge of their preciousness, awareness that such occasions are not to be taken for granted. Rather, drink deeply of the good in these proleptic times, profoundly and palpably knowing them to be a taste of the World to Come.