Seizing the Day

Centuries ago, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus penned these pivotal words:

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

I can remember exactly where I was when I understood what he meant by that.  I was with a friend in one of my favorite outdoor spots.  We had been on this particular lake a dozen times, but this visit was unique.  Things were devastated by drought and the beauty of the place had been deeply affected.  I thought back to so many memories I had made with a man whom I met in my senior year of high school, many of which were made at this particular place.  The lake was different, and the two of us had responsibilities, families, and circumstances that were very different than they were the first time we visited this place.  It had changed and we had changed.

That day, I realized that I had to choose to savor experiences and friendships.  Without that intentional choice, I would rush by the significance of my friendships, family, job, community, and even these wonderful experiences in nature.  I was more thankful than I had ever been and my habits have changed significantly.

  • I thank God more readily.
  • I affirm my friends more specifically.
  • I stop and sit in awe of what I see, whether it’s an eagle fishing the lake with me, or a young cougar in my trail, or a sunset like the ones that my friend Ron captures so well with his camera, or the tender embrace of my wife or kids, or the sweet voice of my grandsons.
  • I savor these things and linger with them longer, knowing that they will never be repeated exactly in the future.

So, let me ask you:  are you rushing through the early years of your kids’ lives?  Are you rushing through the journey of school, so anxious to start that job that you take for granted the opportunities you have on your campus?  Are you losing track of your spouse because you’re choosing to give all your best energy and attention to your career?  Or have you learned to pause and take it all in, savoring the “good stuff” in your life?

As much as I love to look to the horizon of the future, I am learning to stop for a few minutes and savor the present.  This is part of what Paul meant when he urged early Christians to give thanks in all circumstances.  It’s hard giving thanks when life is sad, but I think it’s easy to miss the opportunity to give thanks when your circumstances are wonderful.  Seize the day, friends.  Seize the day!

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