“Seize the Day” (an essay)

74_503471871557_2864_nGoing through my journals from high school this morning, I ran across an essay I wrote when I was sixteen years old.

I started reading it out loud and it brought tears to my eyes, because it’s so true. There’s so much beauty around us, if we only had eyes to see it.

Today I’m sharing some excerpts from that essay. May it inspire you to appreciate anew the wonders of life.

SEIZE THE DAY

by Boze Herrington (April 2003)

“Seize the Day! Seize whatever you can

Cause Life slips away just like hourglass sand…

Then nothing will stand in your way.”

-Carolyn Arends, “Seize the Day”

            Life is beautiful and full of meaning. Life is meaningful and full of beauty. Though few people ever discover the Great Truth of Life, it is within grasp to all who have ears to hear, hearts to reach. The Great Secret lies in realizing that it is possible to enjoy everything, in seizing and enjoying every moment as it comes, and abandoning oneself in the risk and wild audacity that true living can bring.

It is strange that in a world so beautiful one finds so many people who are blind to the glory around us. This really is a beautiful world, no matter how many cattle march their weary lives through staring in wonder at a concrete pavement. The late folk artist Rich Mullins sang, “There’s so much beauty around us, but just two eyes to see- but everywhere I go, I’m looking.”[1] Life in itself is beauty, with its floating water, tangerine and salmon-colored canopy, and trees and little children and colors and shadows and music and poetry. Step outside. Lose yourself in the grip of a living, pulsating universe, spinning in progress towards perfection. Trees sway, grass weaves, and flowers dance. And within each human soul, like the scent of a tulip, a fragrant tale emerges and points upward to the Giver of all good things, the Author of Life and lives, the Choreographer of History.

As C. S. Lewis writes, God really is a hedonist at heart, and His universe is a garden of delights. There are an infinite number of activities to occupy ourselves with without violating the pleasure of God. He delights in the delight of His children. We can sleep and play and eat and drink and make love and sing and dance and compose and create all day in this great Eden, for He has made it all for our pleasure.[2] “I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice and do good in his Life, and also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the fruit of his labors, for it is the gift of God that he can enjoy them.”[3]

But only when we let go and realize that happiness eludes us in this Life can we truly come to enjoy Life and be happy.

            Everything is enjoyable, everything has beauty. When happiness does not depend on circumstance but on a mindset, there is as much beauty in a golden summer day as there is in an icy funeral service, a falling tear, a mundane Tuesday doing homework. Even tragedy- and without sorrow we miss many of the great joys of living- has its delightful shadows, its raw passions, its tenderly emotional moments and tears and lovely shades of darkness.

September 11th opened the eyes of most Americans, for a moment at least, to the fact that in trying to earn a living, we have forgotten how to live. The triumph of the terrorist attacks was that it allowed us to enjoy Life for a fleeting second. In Thornton Wilder’s play, “Our Town,” after revisiting her Life and seeing how much she took for granted, Emily cries, “Oh earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you… Do any human beings ever realize Life while they live it- every, every minute?”[4] Chris Rice asks, “Does anyone live to know the value of a Life?”[5]

Every human reaches for what he cannot have in this Life and never fully attains, but that he thirsts for it shows it is there. It is the Burning Yearning. We know it is there and we reach for it, but true happiness escapes us in this Life. Perfect satisfaction is possible only in a perfect world. And just as a duck longs to swim and a human creature longs for love, there must be “water” and “love” to satisfy those desires within. Even so, we know our longings are not in vain.[10] “He has set eternity in the hearts of man.”[11] Folk musician Carolyn Arends sings, “The yearning deep within us tells us there’s more to come.”[12] The history of humanity is the history of straining, striving humans reaching toward they know not what, struggling to find fulfillment and pleasure- meaning and beauty. But only when we realize the hopelessness of our cause does the cause fill with hope; for only when we appreciate the brevity, the frustration, and the futility of Life do we begin to grasp the importance of each moment now, and in the time to come the hope of joy eternal.

Therefore, my friend, rise up and live. Shake off the shackles of purposelessness and find something for your hands to do. Lose yourself in all the meaning and beauty Life contains. Walk on, in the joy that Life is beautiful, the hope that there is more to come, and the knowledge that nothing can happen to you outside of God’s hand. Then nothing will stand in your way.


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