Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seize the Day

another day comes to an end

Last evening, as I sat and watched yet another sunset, I reflected on how quickly the day had passed.  Indeed "time flies." 

As I sat and watched the sunset,  I recalled a time in my life many years ago. It was late December, 1988. I was a Chaplain at Syracuse University and we were all facing a great tragedy as PanAm Flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie Scotland. Almost 30 Syracuse students were on that plane. The community was devastated.

While I have many bittersweet memories of that time, one of my clearest recollections involved a conversation I had with a student on the night of the crash. He had been good friends with one of the victims killed in the bombing. He came to my office in a state of unconsolable grief,  in great pain over the loss of his friend,  but also in pain over the loss of his own innocence. 

I still remember him covering his face,  and through the tears and sobs telling me, "It wasn't until today that I realized I too am going to die one day."

At first I thought that this was sort of a ridiculous statement - the product of immaturity. Of course we all know we are going to die someday. But over the years,  as I have reflected upon that encounter, I wonder if the voice of that student may not be the voice of many people who haven't actually come to grips with the reality of our human condition - some day we all must die.

The time we have for our life on this earth is brief and limited -  it passes quickly. 

There is an old Latin saying, "carpe diem" - "seize the day."  Sometimes this is interpreted as, "use the time you have to accomplish all the things you want to do before its too late." I have another interpretation of "seize the day."

I think you "seize the day," by living in the present. When I can appreciate what I experience at each moment of the day - the beauty, the joy, the sorrow, the pain, the hope, When I am fully present to each person I meet and to each event that occurs, without distraction,  then I am "seizing the day. "

The richness of life always comes to us in the "now".  It is in the now that I encounter God. It is in the now that I am in touch with my deeper truer self. 

There is a wisdom saying that come from the 4th century desert Mothers and Fathers: "A desert monk once said, 'If you lose gold or silver, you can find something as good as you lost. But the one who loses time can never make up what he has lost."

Before I know it, there will be yet another sunset. So, before that sunset comes, I want to "seize the day,"  live fully in the now, attuned and present to the richness life has to offer.

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