Carpe Diem! Haven't we all heard this phrase and felt compelled to try live by it at some point in time. College graduation is near and soon we will enter the "real" world and have to work every day...all day - Seize the day! The baby will be turning one soon and is growing up too fast; enjoy every precious coo and kiss those little feet...seize the day! A friend or loved one is diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition and the brevity of life smacks you in the face - carpe diem! The children are going off to college and an empty nest is on the horizon...seize the day! We all have chapters in our lives or events that startle us into the realization that our days on this Earth are numbered or merely that change is inevitable and we need to enjoy the moments we have before they are gone.
Carpe Diem - so inspiring, such a nice thought, but isn't it difficult to use a daily mantra? Inevitably, dirty diapers, dirty clothes and dirty dishes overcome my desire for greatness and a feeling of "just make it through the day" takes it place. When little boy #1 is in the hospital or otherwise ill, I am reminded to cherish each day, but just like the daily chores, when he is having a good stretch of health, the daily whining and fits nudge my urgency to soak in every detail and cherish each moment further from my mind. How do we approach this desire of great expectations and the reality of life's and our own shortcomings? Here are two places to start:
First, acknowledge that satisfaction apart from God is futile. Consequently, as we seize the day, God must be intricately woven into how we do our "seizing." Solomon, gifted with incredible wisdom, writes throughout Ecclesiastes that if we live our days as gifts from God, these days will accumulate to create an abundant and good life. This does not mean that all of the details of God's work in our lives will be made known to us. So, the poopy days (in my case, when I deal with 3 boys and all of their diapers and potty mishaps interspersed with cleaning up their dirty shoes because I didn't clean the backyard up after the dog), will happen but the accumulation of all of our days is when we will see and experience the good life! This leads to #2.
We all will experience divine judgment - hence the necessity to incorporate God into our daily living. But, we also experience divine blessings. Not taken in excess, we can eat, drink, and be merry! Solomon writes, "...eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart...whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." God gave us life in order to live joyfully and abundantly. Recognize these daily blessings. On my poopy days, I can rejoice that I have a backyard for 3 young boys to play in, sun that kisses their faces, and an awesome bed to pass out on that night!
The Message's translation below highlights that we all end our lives in the grave; while we live...Carpe Diem!
"Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, for there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed."