The moment was perfect. The windows were rolled down and let in a slight breeze as the sun shone down on me – happily, not in an uncomfortable or oppressive way. Music played on my radio and I sang along as I drove through forsaken roads to a destination that now escapes me. For once, I was actually going to be early to my appointment, so I slowed down a little to a more leisurely speed and let myself enjoy the moment. I adjusted my sunglasses and smiled. I’d tell myself that this moment is perfect, I distinctly remember thinking, but soon it’ll be over and as soon as I say it, I’m going to get a phone call from Mom telling me that a random second cousin has passed away and that we’re leaving to visit them tomorrow morning.
I’ve had many moments like this – moments where I’ve finally understood pure, unadulterated bliss. But I feel like I can’t fully enjoy them because they’ll be over soon and it’ll be back to my boring old life. Why? I’m usually not pessimistic – quite the opposite, actually. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve gone somewhere or talked to someone when I’m in a depressed mood and they notice right off the bat because I’m usually much more bubbly. But sometimes I can’t fully enjoy a happy moment because I’m stuck thinking about how terrible it will be when the inevitable bad thing happens right after I shout from the rooftops, “I love my life!”
Why is that? I’ve been thinking about it lately. And I think I’ve come to a firm conclusion that can be summed up in a single Latin phrase we all know: Carpe diem. Seize the day. (Jumping teenage boys in newsboy caps sparked into some of your minds when you read that. You people are awesome.)
Yes, this is my brilliant conclusion. Seize the day. Carpe that wonderful diem because it most assuredly will never come again. I know the phrase gets a lot of hate because we, as Christians, are supposed to be forever mindful of making everything we do have some sort of Kingdom or eternal value. And while I think that’s true, I think we simultaneously forget that we’re on earth for a very short time and if we don’t live while we’re here, have we actually lived at all?
I don’t mean “live” as in the sense that we should forget all the rules “cuz YOLO!” I mean live by making every second count. By enjoying the moments here on earth that actually feel worth living for. By putting passion into everything we do because we don’t know if it will be our last act or our hundredth-to-last act.
I think everyone deserves to have those moments of pure bliss – and, more than that, to cherish them and enjoy them in that very same moment. No matter what you’re going through, there should always be times when you can look back and think, Wow. My life right then was actually not that bad, even though I was going through something terrible.
I’m not going to tell you to turn off the computer or unplug your iPhone. I am, however, going to tell you to seek out those moments when your life feels awesome. When you’re putting on makeup and suddenly realize that, hey, you don’t look half bad. Or when you’re playing football with a group of friends and manage a touchdown while that girl you like is watching. Or when your two-year-old kid decides to bring you a bunch of random items from around the house, just because he wants to show you how much he loves you by giving you something.
We live in a fantastic, crazy, amazing world and are often too worried to think about anything else besides what the future may hold. We need to take into account what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Another verse along these lines that I love is John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Isn’t that a great thought? To know that, yeah, bad things are going to happen to you, but you don’t have to worry because God has you right where He wants you and He’s taken care of everything, even going to far as to overcome the world! It’s enough to make me want to jump and cry at the same time.
So, today, Carpe Diem. Live in those rare happy moments when your life seems perfect. If you can’t find a happy moment, pray for one. Ask God to give you His peace that passes all understanding – and then do something you enjoy. Trust me – it’s totally worth it.