They (the wise) say something about seizing the day. That was Horace and he was making a metaphor about days being like flowers. It reminds me of the Medieval poem – perhaps taking from Horace? – about gathering roses while you still have the chance. The day will come when we can no longer gather up beauty. If we are to follow Horace’s metaphor, the day is beauty.
Annie Dillard describes days as little gods. Somehow she managed to be more pagan than Horace. Days are little brute gods that force their way on us. They demand worship from us – human sacrifice – so that at the end of the day, when we have given everything, we can somehow feel refreshed by our worship.
I added the part about sacrificing ourselves to each day. Days are not gods, they are tiny doorways.
When I opened my eyes this morning at 6:05am, the door was opened. I keep it in the passive voice, because it did not open itself. I believe that I and the Holy Spirit partnered together this morning.
The remainder of the day is our journey through the doorway, into the room, around the room, and back out. We close our eyes, we shut the door.
Every room is full of unique peculiarities. Once a door has been opened and closed, that place can never be seen again, that exact collection of images.
Today, I stayed in the doorway. I did not collect as many of the images as I could, bundling them under my arm, closing the door behind me with my elbow. I stayed in the doorway, a bit scared, because I knew that at the end of every day, the door must be closed. My irrational nature – or was it my rational? – convinced me that there is no point being in something when the being will come to an end. It is the same argument I use when I do not make my bed. Why make something that will be unmade?
I am walking around a mansion with a notepad, glasses on the end of my nose, and a tie. I have a pen. I have been given a limited list of rooms to inspect. I have been given the job of inspecting every room for a day, collecting specific images, then moving on. After the rooms run out, I have been given directions to take off my glasses, click my pen, hand the notepad to the man with long hair, and walk out the backdoor. I have been told that I will be informed five business days after my last check whether or not my work was satisfactory. Here’s hoping this job is not based on merit.
Today, I seized nothing except a cold. There is a lump in my throat.
We make works. We have been allotted a certain amount of works in our lifetime. Seven kids? Realty office? Three novels? School? Failed business?
These works – I am convinced – are bound by the images that inspired them. We are not inspired by things we cannot see. That is why Christ sent his Spirit. Without the example of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, we could hardly see the Father at all. All of our life and all of our passions hinge on what we see during our day.
There is a whole day full of images for the taking tomorrow. We may take nothing, in which case we will make nothing. Tomorrow will soon be forgotten. It is the images that let us remember. It is the images that inspire us to create.
I am seeing a room tomorrow. If my math is right, tomorrow is room 6601. I am going to bring backpacks, buckets, wicker baskets – anything that collects. I will fill these containers until there will be no room left for the images in the dark corners.
What we see during the day is for our good, but so is what we avoid seeing. We can fill our apartment with things, but those things will be our death if they are not useful or beautiful. I will keep my eyes on pure images – but I do not mean this in a pietistic way. I mean in the way of healthy eating. I want wholesome things to see. I want a green apple on a tree. A wholesome diet is a balanced diet. That includes fatty acids and carbohydrates. A wholesome diet is one that leaves room for fast food, but not very much.
I have counted my days. It seems like a remarkably small number: 6601. 6601. Tomorrow is my 6601th day. The number on the door is 6601. I will walk in, I will pack up what seems to be mine, and I will close the door.