The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on May 9, 2012



Somebody once said to me, “I would like to be one of those who lets nothing important escape him.”  Are there such people? The implication of that statement is that one always knows what the important things are. I’m not sure that’s true either but I am sure that what is important at one stage of one’s life is not necessarily what is important at another time. If the things we consider important didn’t change, we’d all be stuck where we were at 18 or 19 or 20 and heaven help us if that were to happen!


The statement also presumes a sort of universality of importance when what is more likely, I think, is that we all have our own agendas as to importance. Yours and mine may be similar but you might find it more difficult than I to put down Melville or Keats in favor of taking a walk. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. It just means that on a scale of importance, you’d place a little more weight than I on the book in your hands. If you stayed with Keats and I took a walk does that mean you’ve let something important escape you or that you’ve opted to stay with what you deem important?


Certainly our understanding of what is important  changes with time. I do think, though, that there are things that are universally important. We all have our own opinions about what is important, but heaven help us if we ever get to the point where we cannot agree about the value, the goodness or evil, of some things. I deplore the sociological relativism that has stripped us of reasonable opinions of right and wrong, along with traditional values, and replaced those with absolutely nothing, as some of the social scientists, to their dismay, are beginning to discover.


It’s important to me that I continue to learn and not allow my brain to stagnate. My children and grandchildren – my blue ribbons – are important to me.Israel, Judaic values and the Jewish community are on my list of what’s important. So too is the exercise of whatever creativity I’ve been blessed with. It is important to me that I always keep in mind the oneness of mankind; that, to the best of my ability, I don’t neglect those in need; that I am tolerant of the views of other.


I have a copy of a poem by George Eliot on my refrigerator door. It serves to remind me what’s important. Eliot had it right:


If you sit down at set of sun and count the acts that you have done

And counting, find one self-denying deed, one word

That eased the heart of him who heard

One glance most kind that fell like sunshine where it went

Then you may count that day well spent

But if, through all the livelong day

You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay

If, through it all you’ve nothing done that you can trace

That brought the sunshine to one face

No act most small that helped some soul and nothing cost

Then you may count that day as worse than lost.


What are your  priorities?  Post a comment.


Julie Rose



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