My father warned us kids long before we even started the dating circuit. He’d ask, “Where do the single guys and gals who were swingers and never married end up?” My father would then answer his own question, “All those glamorous bachelors ended up by Mrs. S. eating dog food.”
Okay, yeah, I know, you are scratching your head in puzzlement, as in a way of asking, ‘what’s that s’posed to mean.” So let me explain. Where I lived, up in the boonies, a merry woman named Mrs. S. decided to make money through taking in elderly boarders. She would get paid to host them, and to make sure there was money to spare for herself, she served the boarders dog food. Justice eventually caught up with her, and she got arrested for elder abuse. Yet, she had provided my father with the visual for us to get how important it is to settle down and set up family. He would tell us time and time again how those who don’t set up families end up elderly and alone, at the mercy of mercenaries like Mrs. S.
That to me is the epitome of much of life’s struggles. The here and now of temptation lures us and kills us in the end. Have you ever lit a candle on a warm summer’s night? All the moths come rushing in, trying to get close to the flame, burning their wings, and inevitably snuffing out their lives. We must realize that any of the temptations in life lures us, like the candle to the moth, trying to snuff out the embers of eternity, trying to squash all the potential we have.
Even the great Dovid HaMelech admitted the world almost snared him. “Kimat Natayu Raglai” [my legs almost stumbled] he writes in Tehillim. He almost stumbled when he saw the successes of wrongdoers. Then he thought into life and his end goal a bit more, realizing that at final count the wrong way leads to the wrong destination. He eventually saw that the wicked are like “dry grass” that will ultimately be blown into the nowhere of the great yonder.
Those who take the harder path of deciding to buckle down to life, they are the ones who opt for responsibility over fun, for good deeds over giddy glitter, they are the ones who become like a tree planted by river’s edge, nurtured and fruitful.
As for the rest of us who can’t buckle down, either get ready for the taste of dog food…or we must change our ways.