By Shilo Bartlett
I looked up the phrase “carpe diem” the other day. I was curious since I’d been pondering other phrases such as “live for today,” and “you only live once.” I was thinking about the fact that tomorrow isn’t a given for some of us. Not in the morbid sense of dwelling on loss, but on the prospect of the good that is in store for us once we leave here. That it only gets better!
So the Latin meaning of the phrase “carpe diem” is as follows: Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero – “Seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the next (day)[/future].” There have been many interpretations of this, one being what I quoted before as the “carpe diem” seize-the-day mentality. It seems to be the concept that “you only live once,” so live now! Because tomorrow might not come!
However, I have a different thought on this.
I have read The Chronicles of Narnia many times, both on my own and with my children. The last book in the series is a type or shadow of the End Times, when the earth will fall apart and we will be with the Lord. As you read this book, there is a phrase that Aslan uses several times when talking about where the children are headed: “Further up and further in!”
They have left the old behind and are heading into the “new” Narnia- i.e. heaven- and can run faster than eagles. He encourages them to just keep going “further up and further in.” When they do this, they discover that the land doesn’t just stop, it literally keeps going as they discover it and unfolds as they go. They can’t see what is beyond, but they trust that they will find the new as they go further in.
This was very intriguing to me. It applies to so many areas of our life. It doesn’t just seem that we should live “for today,” but maybe trust that while we do live today, tomorrow will be taken care of. We can’t see what is over the hill, or around the corner, or over the mountain, but that doesn’t mean we should stop, does it? It just means we run faster at it! That unknown is not a bad thing; it is discovery, life well lived.
It is the challenge of life – when you run up against that unknown of tomorrow, or the next big problem, what do you do? He says “further up and further in”! That in itself is living, isn’t it? You are right here and now, living “the moment,” but yet looking ahead without fear. consciously choosing to move in the direction you are heading without wavering.
With our children it is easy to be afraid, to question ourselves as well as the paths and decisions we have chosen for them. The huge choice of what their education will be like is one that every parent faces. But instead of fearing that tomorrow is uncertain and you should hide from the challenges they are up against, maybe we can gain confidence from the fact that we can choose the path, then go “further up and further in”! Knowing that today we live by what we know, preparing for what we can’t see, and not being concerned that it will bring the unknown with it. Being confident that whatever tomorrow is or will be, we are here today, and we can enjoy that! To enjoy what He has given us right now, and looking forward to tomorrow. Not living as if it won’t come – living knowing it will!
And that to me is very, very “carpe diem.”
What areas of your life could use some “carpe diem”?
Shilo Bartlett is a super organized, over reaching, strong-willed mother of three. She loves having the hands-on time with her kids that homeschooling and The Garden School have allowed her. She grew up in the Colorado River Valley, and went to public school until 6th grade. Her mother homeschooled her and her three siblings through high school, and then she attended CMC graduating with a degree in Applied Science in the Veterinary Field. She has always read voraciously, and written throughout her life for many publications. Her family is her passion. Her driving motivation is to encourage a love of learning.