If I Could Turn Back Time: Teshuvah – the Only Way to Turn Back Time
If you watched the VMAs or saw headlines from it like I did, you might have noticed that Cher (singer, actress, and erstwhile infomercial star) was dressed in a black unitard made of nothing but nylons. OK, there was some strategically-placed glitter on the outfit as well, but as over-the-top as Cher looked wearing this getup 30 years ago is nothing compared to how she looked squeezing into it again at the age of 64.
This pantyhosed-ensemble made its debut in the sexagenarian’s (pun very much intended) hit video “If I Could Turn Back Time,” which is evidently what this star wants to do when it comes to her looks. But should holding on to youth and beauty be such a central goal in life?
In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon wisely notes that “grace is deceptive and beauty is emptiness, it is a woman who reveres God that should be praised.”
That’s because despite what Cher’s plastic surgeon and personal trainer may be telling her, the world was set up so that people physically deteriorate as they get older. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to look and feel our best as we age, but while our physicality is meant to decline over time, our spirituality, if we work on it, has the ability to get stronger and more developed with each passing day.
Though time can’t be turned back when it comes to one’s body, there actually is a formula to turning back time for one’s soul. It’s called teshuva which is often translated as “repentance” but literally means “returning.”
Doing teshuva, which includes feeling remorse for a mistake, apologizing to the person wronged (if the mistake affected another person), committing to changing one’s behavior, and then sticking to the plan – actually resets one’s spiritual clock. It’s not that the mistake is simply forgiven and pushed under the rug – it’s as if it never happened in the first place (in God’s eyes).
Working to look and feel one’s best is a worthwhile endeavor, but only in moderation. For as we are reminded during these Days of Awe – we have neither the knowledge nor the control of “who will live and who will die.” And so it behooves each and everyone of us to focus as much time and effort as we can towards strengthening the side of ourselves that is everlasting and transcends this fleeting world of glitter, unitards, and Video Music Awards.
May you and yours be sealed in the Book of Life.