Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Carpe Diem"

"Evening Shadows"

Yesterday afternoon, I was entering a local supermarket just as a family with two young boys were leaving for their car. At first I was quite taken back because the one child was a "spitting image" of my own eldest son back when he was a boy that age. So I did a "double take" as that family passed me by,  and obviously the little boy saw me looking at him because he smiled and gave me a little wave.

That smile and that little wave really got to me because my eldest son is now married and today he turns 33. 

When I saw that little boy passing me by at the supermarket doors, my mind was instantly flooded with memory and emotion. My son's life sort of flashed before me - the day he was born, school, college graduation, the day he was married. 

But more than anything else, I thought to myself, "How is it possible that time could have passed by so quickly?"  It seemed like only yesterday that our son was that little boy at a supermarket with his parents. Today he is 33 years old.

This morning I am reflecting on "time" - the passage of time, the use of time. 

In a very real sense, "time" is quite relative in terms of how slow or how fast it seems to pass. I can sit in the waiting room of a doctor's office and 15 minutes feels like an eternity. I can sit in a theater enjoying a great movie and two hours passes in an instant. 

I have also discovered that now, in my later years of life, I experience the passage of time in radically different ways than when I was younger.

As a boy I remember sitting in a classroom and thinking the hours of the day would never end. Then there was college, grad school, ordination, marriage, and career - It felt like we had all the time in the world to raise our family, get established, plan careers. 

Then one day it was as if someone turned on some sort of cosmic switch, and all of a sudden "time" started to pass by at "breakneck speed." Out here in the desert my wife and I often find ourselves saying to one anther, "can you believe a week has already gone by?" "Where did the time go?" 

So maybe that's one of the lessons of my later years- the older you get the more swiftly fly the years.

In my later years I have also come to another significant learning about "time."  There is no such thing as having "all the time in the world?  When I was younger, I lived with a feeling that I had plenty of time (maybe even an unlimited amount of time) to live my life. I now know, deep in my heart, that this swiftly passing time does indeed come to an end. We only have a limited amount of time and it runs out for all of us. 

In my reflections this morning I have little use for "nostalgia" -fondly remembering what life was like back when that now 33-year old man was a little boy. And there is no place in my life for "regret" or feelings of "what might  have been." I refuse to ask questions like, "Did I spend too much time on my career and not enough with my family?" -thoughts like that are useless. They are a waste of precious time. 

Instead, as I reflect on "time" this morning, an old Latin phrase comes to mind: 

Carpe Diem!
Seize the Day!

Every moment of every passing day is a gift to be enjoyed, relished and cherished - without regret of the past, without focus on the future. I "seize the day" as I enjoy the people I love and who love me. I "seize the day" as I bask in the glory of this desert morning. 

A little brightly colored yellow butterfly is flitting about in my garden.  I watch as it perches on the bright red bougainvilleas. It is so beautiful that I want to scoop it up and hold it in my hands -maybe put it in a scrapbook, pinned down as a memory of this moment. But if I did that, I would destroy the beauty, so I just sit back and relish it.

I would like to sit here and watch it all day long. But it quickly flies away. 

Carpe Diem!


  1. Beautiful post. Life but a fleeting moment in time.

  2. Carpe Diem!

    My Son asked me on Thursday if he could get a small Tatoo on his arm to honor his Dad who passed away only a few short months ago age 47.. My husband; his hero!

    My first instinct when he asked was to send him a pic of the quote "CARPE DIEM"

    I told him the meaning and that it would be a "Unique" tatoo for his Dad.

    Because; my Husband and I, have always told him to "Seize The Day"

    We are never promised "A Tomorrow"!

    Great Blog as always Paul..
    Carpe Diem,
    Sharon Young

  3. Sharon…thanks for sharing this. Tremendous comment, very touching to me

  4. Again, you are very welcome��

    Your Blogs always confirm for me; something I have previously thought or mentioned, prior to you writing!

    "LITERALLY" !!!

    I take these confirmations as a sign from all My Guardian Angels that; Yes, we are with you and Son and you're not Alone!!

    Your next Blog on "Rain"; I just read,
    Another sign...

    So; Mr. Kowalewski, thank you so much...��

    I guess you were chosen by "Them" for Me!

    Truly Grateful

    Keep up the Great Posts!

    Sharon Young

  5. Whenever I manage to stay in the 'now', time changes its frequency – I can sense that. The speed of time accelerates depending on how many thoughts I have per minute. Though even speed becomes insignificant when I'm content with what is. It makes me think that 'time passing by' is our subconscious intuition that we are not present in the moment. Even memories happen in the now – isn't that strange? Maybe there is no past at all – maybe it's just an idea.

    1. i think you are right--time his so fluid..maybe the past is an idea

    2. Agree again along with Alen....
      Past is gone...Posting this comment will be in the past by the time you receive it.
      We do only have the present moment. .
      Nothing else

  6. I find myself very intrigued by your comment! It's not strange at all!!
    I tend to agree that's how it is all unfolding, no past memories, only now!