The sixth hope
Once during my distressing surveillance, having preferred seclusion, I was alone on the top of Pine Mountain (Çam Dağı) in the Barla plateau (in the province of Isparta). I was in need of a light in my isolation. Alone one night on the small platform at the top of a tall pine on the summit of that high mountain, old age recalled to me three or four separations, one within another. As described in The Sixth Letter (included in The Letters), the melancholy sound of the rustling trees on that lonely, silent, remote night burdened me greatly in my exile in old age. Old age prompted the following thought: Just as the daylight has changed into this sepulchral black and the world has put on its black shroud, so too the daytime of your life will turn into night, and the daytime of the world turn into the night of the Intermediate Realm of the grave, and the summertime of life into the winter nighttime of death. It whispered this in my heart’s ear. My soul was then obliged to respond:
True, I am far from my native land, but being separated from and mourning all those who are now dead, whom I loved during my fifty years of life, is a far more grievous and sorrowful separation than exile from my country. Furthermore, I am drawing close to a much more sorrowful and painful exile than the melancholy exile of the night and the mountain: old age informs me that I am approaching the time of separation from the world altogether.
I then sought a light, a hope, from these sorrowful separations, one within the other. Suddenly belief in God came to my aid and offered such companionship that even if the layered desolation in which I found myself had increased a thousand times, its consolation would have been sufficient.
Elderly men and women! Since we have a Compassionate Creator, there can be no exile for us. Since He exists, everything exists for us. Since He exists and has angels, the world is not empty. Lonely mountains and empty deserts are full of God Almighty’s servants. Apart from His conscious servants, His stones and trees also become like familiar friends when viewed through His light and on His account. They may converse with us and give us contentment.
Evidence and testimonies to the number of beings in the universe and to the number of the letters of this vast book of the universe affirm the existence of our All-Compassionate, All-Munificent, All-Intimate, and All-Loving Creator, Maker, and Protector. They show us His Mercy to the number of the members of the living creatures’ members, and of the provision and favors they enjoy, all of which are the instruments of His Compassion, Mercy, and Grace, and point the way to His Court. The most acceptable intercessor at His Court is impotence, weakness, and neediness. And the greatest time of impotence, weakness, and neediness is old age. So we should not resent old age, which is an acceptable intercessor at this Court, but welcome it.
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi