Today I’m excited to welcome author Jocelyn Green back to my blog with her wonderful perspective on how to seize the day when life is exhausting.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Dead Poets Society. As an English major in college, I fell in love with the film for obvious reasons, and I still hold it in high esteem. Several scenes are etched into my memory, including this stirring one below:
Carpe Diem! Yes! Are you excited right now to seize the day?? If I was still in college right now, I’d jump up and shout “yes!”
But what does Carpe Diem look like?
But I’m not in college anymore. I’m a homeschooling mom, a wife to a dear husband who has a full-time job and is in graduate school, and a writer. I feel like I seize a lot of days. It’s exhausting. To be honest, I don’t even know what carpe diem should look like in my current stage of life.
Does it mean tackle my to-do list like a banshee? Stay up all night working? Or does it mean putting the urgent on hold so I can take the kids to the park and live in the moment?
Near the end of the scene above, Professor Keating (Robin Williams) tells the students to make their lives extraordinary. I love that. I would love to do that, too. However, Keating leaves out the less exciting fact–that much of our days are made up of the very ordinary. We take out the trash. Pack lunches. Change diapers. Drill multiplication tables. Supervise violin or piano practice. Referee sibling squabbles. Wash dishes and clothes that will never, no not ever, stay clean. Or maybe you are in college, and keeping up with exams and papers is all you can do. Perhaps you find yourself in a season of care-giving for a spouse or grandchildren. No matter our stage of life, what does carpe diem look like here in the real world?
Not Carpe Diem. Carpe Deum!
I recently finished reading Holy Is the Day by Carolyn Weber (five stars, two thumbs up, etc.), and she has these enlightening words to say on the matter:
“Perhaps the answer lies in when carpe diem evokes worship, when it is a form of honoring the God who is honoring us with his presence. Put another way, when carpe diem becomes carpe Deum, or, translated loosely for our purposes here, ‘Seize God!’ . . . Replace carpe diem with carpe Deum and you move away from the ledge of self-absorption, from the temptation of falling into spiritual immaturity epitomized by so many things in the sinful nature of self, but especially by the self-serving pleasure principle. In subtle contrast, carpe Deum grasps at God. It seeks righteousness. It touches the robe. It holds onto the Lord and refuses to let go” (pages 97, 99).
I love this! Seize God! This is something we can all do everyday, can’t we? No matter what our occupation or pay grade, no matter if we feel ordinary or extraordinary, the exhortation to carpe Deum makes so much more sense to me. I hope this encourages you, today, too.
I’m more of a Martha than a Mary, so being task-oriented comes naturally to me. What I need to remember is this: the measure of our extraordinariness (not a word, I know) is not how much productivity we wring from our day. But when we seize God–when we hold onto the Lord and seek to honor Him–our day will never be ordinary.
About the Author
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.