I’ve had something funny happening with my voice/throat lately that has limited my ability to sing as well as I would like. It’s been getting better, but my voice is still not quite at full-capacity. At my most recent voice lesson the teacher suggested that I practice every day, gently, and maybe for shorter periods. Excellent advice, and I’m trying to take it seriously, but you know how it is: there’s other, more important stuff to be done, it’s nice to have absolute privacy, it’s hard to remember, time is limited, and a million other excuses get in the way. I mean, these “Thoughts” aren’t going to write themselves while I sing in the office.
Still, it matters; I want to be able to sing and to have my voice at full capacity, so today, on the drive to a Pastoral visit, I sang. My parishioner lives about 20 minutes away, giving me around 15 minutes to do warm-ups and gentle exercises. Alone in my vehicle with a nice chunk of time on my hands, I seized the opportunity to do something that matters to me, besides being one of those soul-satisfying things that one should do more often.
Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Or, in this case, Car-pe Diem; seize the day automobile style! Well, even more accurately, Car-pe Tempore, seize the moment! I’ve written before about seizing life (Carpe Vitaem) and lots of folks have encouraged folks to seize the day, but sometimes those concepts are too big to handle; sometimes, like today for me, you simply need to seize the moment to do something that matters, or that you might not otherwise work into your schedule. Sometimes you just need to recognize an opportunity and grab it before it gets away.
There are a couple of good reasons for seizing the moment; first, it lets you do something you might not get done; second, it can be the start of a larger discipline involving that particular thing you want to do. For me, singing in the car was the first shot at not just finding the right moment, but creating a continuing series of moments in which I can work on my voice. You might have other healthy, helpful habits you might want to cultivate. Doing so may seem like a momentous undertaking, but if you seize the moment and start off a bit at a time, that monumental task will become more manageable as you realize that the time you took was not at all wasted, and fit into your schedule despite what you might have thought.
God has given us gifts to use; sometimes they need to be cultivated and grown; mostly, they need to be used. Think of them both in long term and short term ways. You have a lifetime in which to use them, but that lifetime is broken up into moments and opportunities. There are occasions when it’s a big move, a “Carpe Diem” moment when you seize life and change everything. But there are many more little “Carpe Tempore” moments when you can seize the moment to do something you love. Go ahead; take this moment, right now, to enjoy whatever unique gift God has blessed you with.