By Mo Breden
Today is Thanksgiving, and we all have our own reflections on what the day means to us and to those things and people for whom we give thanks.
I want to shift the focus just slightly to center your thoughts on today and every day from this day forward. In order to do that we go back to Robert Herrick in the 17th Century, who wrote a poem, To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time. Don’t know it? Oh yes you do.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day. To-morrow will be dying. This, the first line of the poem, was introduced to popular culture in the movie, Dead Poets Society. In the movie Robin Williams encouraged his students with Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. I will include the entire poem at the end of my blog post for your contemplation.
I came face to face with, Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, when they changed my mother to a new room in the nursing home where she now lives. It hangs in the form of a beautiful tapestry on her roommate’s side of the room. I contemplate it every time I visit my mother. My mom communicates less and less as time passes, so I have had more and more time to contemplate, and reflect on the phrase.
Nursing homes are full of flowers, that one day smiled and now, well, are dying. It’s not a happy subject, but it is a reality and the braver we are in facing it, the better we are as completely formed human beings.
And so, to gather ye rosebuds, we must live fully in this moment, fully in the day that is laid out before us. I believe each day is a gift, although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, it truly is. For me, being fully aware of myself, engaged in those around me, and actively participating in the life of the day, is gathering rosebuds. There are no do-overs, this day is here for 24 hours and then it’s gone, if we bog ourselves down with bad habits, addictions, negative thinking, we gather nothing. If we open our arms and embrace the day, give it a big bear hug, we give and we get the most from this and every day. We all have bad days, pull the covers over and stay in bed days, but once again, we gather NOTHING on those days and we don’t get them back.
Today is a beautiful day, a day designated by our nation to give thanks. Most will gather around tables to be with family and friends, but not all. If you can’t be with family or friends, go out and gather ye rosebuds, go for a walk, a run, or a swim, move your physical body, volunteer to serve a meal to those less fortunate, go to a movie, stay home and watch old movies, make it a good day and give yourself over to it completely.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
Thanks for stopping by to read my post; I hope to see yas next time, for Life with Mo.