When I was working in the corporate world there were many times I traveled on business. One of the options we had for submitting our expenses was to take the per diem rate. What that meant was the company would reimburse you at a daily rate rather than you having to submit every little receipt. An example of that would be let’s say $250/day. that had to cover the hotel, meals and car rental for the day. So, if your actual expenses were less than the per diem rate, you would end up a bit ahead, if your expenses were more than that, you covered them. Anyway, that is what the company set as the worth for being away from your office for the day and night (in addition to your actual salary).
That is hotel, meals, and car. But if we put a value on our day~ how would we value it? How do you value awakening and having the opportunity to spend some time in prayer? Or the value of a sunrise? The value of hearing a springtime songbird trilling on a branch outside your kitchen window? A sticky hug from your children at the breakfast table? The loving smile from your spouse? A phone call from a loved one? What value can you put on the smile of a loved one coming through the door at the end of the day? The smell of the world after a springtime rain? The feeling in your heart when your little one brings you a carefully handpicked bouquet of dandelions from your yard?
The sound of your kitty purring on your lap after dinner, or the warmth of your dog curled up at your feet? Of course the per diem of each day is truly incalculable when you measure the really valuable and precious moments that comprise your day. The magnificent moments that we don’t notice are the true joys…. actually we often do notice those lovely times. It has been a really long time since I was in the corporate world. Back then it was easy to overestimate my worth. It was easy at times to get full of myself. Over the years of being a homemaker and mom, the measures of worth are at times intangible but no less wonderful.
I vowed when we adopted our son to make every moment count and live without regret. I didn’t want to miss all those joys of his childhood. I wanted to be cognizant of how he looked when he learned to swim, when he hit a baseball the first time, when he pet a lamb, you know all those little things. I vowed to live as many of my days with zest and relish as I could. I have done that; these days I receive daily affirmation from him that it was worth it; he regularly tells me how much he appreciated and still appreciates my being here for him rather than having worked outside the home.
Granted, there are days you just go through the motions. But still I wanted to seize each day. In the movie Dead Poet’s Society,teacher John Keating said ” Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary”. If you have seen the movie, you will remember the palpable feeling created by that scene. It gave me goosebumps. And yes, we are called to magnificence. Each life can be magnificent in its own way, no matter what the circumstances are.
The best way to do that, I think is through God’s grace and our loved ones. John Jakes wrote a wonderful piece of advice. He wrote, “be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” Of course, this advice really carries through to all of our life’s activities, not just our writing.
I do so love the concept of what I believe shining through everything I do. Through seizing each day, my per diem, meaning the value gained or earned each day, is determined by how I carpe diem, isn’t it? Will my faith and love shine through throughout the day? Will yours?