Carpe Diem

I spent about an hour or so this morning staring out the window—thinking. Sometimes I need to let my mind sift through the remains of the week. Too many unprocessed thoughts lead to a cluttered mind.

One idea my mind rested upon for a while is the fragility of our lives. In the modern world we have insulated ourselves pretty well from this. It’s not that we’ve become stronger or more resilient; our lives are just packaged better to protect us from the myriad ways we can meet a sudden end or life-altering injury. But there is an advantage to thinking about our fragility. Despite our advances in safety, hygiene, and medicine, everyone still dies and it is healthier to acknowledge and embrace our transience upon this earth than to deny it or rail against it.

Nothing impacted me more profoundly on this front than the death of my mom. Since then, I have become more appreciative of each day I get. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it before her death, but it brought my mortality into clearer focus. This perspective, though, has not propelled me into a hedonistic chasing after the wind. I think I understand Ecclesiastes a little better now—there is only so much we can wring out of this life and trying harder does not necessarily grant us better returns. We should seek God and enjoy the blessings given along the way.

From what I have seen, very little I do will outlast me. Heaven will be about worshipping God in his presence, not about getting pats on the back as we see the impact we never knew we made while on earth. These words I write will one day be gone since nothing on the internet is forever. I have seen websites fade into nothingness as accounts expire or hosts change hands. I have a few journals on my bookshelf and somebody will eventually throw them away—whether me or someone after me—but that’s okay because I’m not seeking immortality in this life.

I received the gift of a Saturday morning to sit at my desk, see the early spring grass in the sunlight, and watch the birds flit about the yard. I woke up next to my wife without an alarm clock. There was coffee, cereal, and milk in the kitchen. Nothing hurts and there are no real worries hanging over me. It’s been a good morning.

Who knows that the rest of the day will hold? I have a few tentative plans and then I look forward to lying back down next to my wife tonight and falling asleep. Some day will be the last time that happens, but while that knowledge keeps me grateful for each day, not knowing which day it will be allows me to go on a little easier today.

My dad once observed that life tends to change gradually in order to make it bearable. He said, “Kids grow up gradually. If you knew which was the last time they sat on your lap, it might break your heart.” Seize the day, not to conquer it, but to appreciate it as it slips through your hands. Do what needs to be done. Give thanks to the one who gave it.


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