The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.
If you were gifted $86,400, you’d probably have little difficulty knowing what to do with it. But if you were gifted 86,400 seconds, would you be as excited?
In one of the most underappreciated gifts of all time, each of us is given the gift of 86,400 seconds every single day. The gift is not transferable, and we can’t save it up. Use it or lose it. The reason we don’t make such a big deal out of this is that, whether you admit it or not, we value our money far more than we value our time.
Time is free but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. The bad news is that time flies; the good news is that you’re the pilot.
When a second cousin of ours, Rabbi Avraham Glick, was invited to move to Melbourne, Australia from Worcester, Massachusetts in the early seventies, the Rebbe told him to stay in his role as Rabbi in Worcester until after the High Holiday season. Rabbi Glick found himself winding down his activities and couldn’t understand why the Rebbe would have asked him to stay in Worcester if he would be unable to influence anyone due to his impending departure. When he asked the Rebbe what to do, the Rebbe’s answer stunned him then, as it does me today!
Drawing on the Torah narrative, the Rebbe explained that when the Jewish People wandered through the desert for over forty years, they camped forty-two times. The miraculous Clouds of Divine Glory would indicate to them when they should stop and when they should move again. Once they stopped for as long as nineteen years, but at other times they camped for under twenty-four hours. Each time the nation camped; they would go to great lengths to build the Tabernacle—the portable Temple that they carried with them throughout their journey. Erecting the Tabernacle was a gargantuan task that required the synchronized efforts of hundreds of people, yet they never lived out of suitcases. Wherever they were, they were fully present, imbued with the awareness that G-d placed them at that place for a specific reason.
Rabbi Glick quickly understood the message. If he was to be in Worcester for the Holidays, he should throw himself into his work wholeheartedly, without worrying about how long he planned on staying there. Wherever he was, he was to be fully invested and engaged.
We too are called upon to view each moment with the same gusto and enthusiasm. Instead of weighing the long-term impact of their efforts, conscious Jews are fully aware that their purpose lies in that moment and at that place.
If you’re retired, know that you’re not over the hill or no longer relevant. G-d’s gift of 86,400 seconds to you today is proof positive that you matter and that He expects you to be the best version of yourself today! If you find yourself constantly distracted, pull yourself together with the joyous realization that this moment will never repeat itself. You might not think that you are suited for the task at hand, but if that’s where Hashem has put you now, it’s where you need to be—give it your best shot! Life is like igniting a match—short and beautiful. Make sure that you burn brightly Cherish every moment and every person in your life because You never know when will be the last time you will see someone.
Yesterday is just a dream and tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called the present!
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens
6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
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