Carpe Diem, My Captain?

 width=Oh, Captain, My Captain! The film The Dead Poet’s Society inspired a generation of young creatives with its refrain of “Carpe Diem” (seize the day). Robin Williams (aka Professor John Keating) urged his students to make your lives extraordinary while standing memorably before a school photograph of alumni who had long become “worm’s meat”.

Yet most of us live decidedly unextraordinary lives, while licking the wounds of our would-be greatness. Why does this happen? Well, it’s because life is not the brass ring at a merry-go-round. It can’t be seized and pulled to our breast, to have and to hold. Life is like water: as soon as we try to seize it, it fast slips through our fingers, leaving only the remnants of what we wanted it to be.

If we are to have a life mantra it should not be Carpe Diem (seize the day) but Suscipe Diem (accept the day)—welcome both the happiness and the sadness, the challenges and the blessings, the victories and the losses. This is the lesson of The Lord’s Prayer, when we are called to pray “give us this day our daily bread.” Our daily bread consists of all of life: all those experiences that make this moment in time such an extraordinary adventure, and which can make our lives extraordinary too, if we but accept each of the cards we are dealt, and don’t fold our hands, cry cheat, or bet it all on a pair of deuces.

The Living Hour