Carpe Gaudeamus

Ah, a Sunday afternoon to myself: nothing to write, nowhere to sing. A few hours of unstructured time to be put to good use, I thought.  I could change over the curtains and bedding to the winter weight set, the lawn needs a combination mow and leaf raking session, my grocery shelves are mighty bare….. Then I decided the most prudent course of action to take on this wonderfully, freakishly warm October afternoon: relax, go to the shore, and give thanks to God for the free time.  What was that movie phrase: carpe diem? Well, that’s what I’ll do.

Seize the opportunity to do….. nothing.

Last month my friends Nancy and Erin accompanied me to dinner and a stroll along the boardwalk. After a competitive skeeball session at the arcade, Nancy wanted to immortalize the evening with a strip of photos from an old-fashioned photo booth. (Yes, I know our cell phones have cameras, but she insisted.) So, we three grown women, long past the age or size of the booth’s intended youthful patrons, managed to squeeze behind its curtain, awkwardly jockeyed for position on the single round stool inside, and nearly ruptured a few important muscle groups in the quest to capture the moment for posterity. (Our loud laughter as we crawled over one another to exit the small space attracted puzzled stares from the other arcade patrons; I’m sure we resembled three clowns exiting a tiny car center ring at the circus.) Later, we indulged in a sugar-and-grease feast of soft ice cream and funnel cake, thus assuring we would have an even more difficult time squeezing into the booth in the future.

Seize the opportunity to…. have fun.

This afternoon I braved the frigid ocean waters and disbelieving stares from the other, saner beach patrons clothed and dry on the shore. It was most likely the last time this year I can swim in the Atlantic, so I bounced and dove under waves with abandon. Once my body temperature resembled that of the prop dummy upon the CSI morgue’s slab, I exited the water, dried off, then walked along the boardwalk towards my car. Lining the rail were wooden benches, each one facing the sea and inviting respite and reflection, and upon each back was attached a plaque etched with names of loved ones who have gone on to their eternal reward, and I included them in my prayers.  Today’s gospel reading of the wedding feast implied we must always be prepared and will never quite know when it is our time to return to God.

Seize the opportunity to …reflect and praise.

A Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Siena, sagely wrote, “Whatever is given us in this life is given for our use and on loan, and we are allowed to keep it just as long as it pleases the divine goodness that gave it to us.” Time on earth is fleeting. Enjoy God’s gifts, whether they be an unscheduled day off, dear friendships, or a good long swim, for as long as He is pleased.

Seize the opportunity to …. give thanks. Gaudeamus!

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About Christina Leslie

My relationship with God has always been close, loving....and humorous. I hope a peek into my life as a Catholic cantor, journalist, and "Fool for Christ" in central New Jersey can help you recognize the love He showers upon you as well!
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