Harvest the day
Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953)
was a prolific, if not renowned American author whose works often
focused on life lessons. He taught effective personal expression
through writing and speaking. A friend sent me one of Kleiser's best
"There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present.
"Hence this is the time to:
- "Speak the word of appreciation and sympathy;
- "Do the generous deed;
- "Forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend;
- "Sacrifice self a little more for others.
"Today you can make your life significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with it as you will."This excerpt is remindful of my studies abroad in Malaysia many years ago, delving into the precepts of Eastern religions and philosophies, from the tales of the Sufi, to the writings of Rumi in the 13th Century and Gibran in the 20th Century, to the example of Gandhi.
A central theme is that we have only the moment we are living to control, neither yesterday nor tomorrow.
This approach to living led to an extremely popular notion of modern-day living, dating to the lyricist known, in English, as Horace when, during the reign of Augustus, B.C., he coined the Latin phrase carpe diem.
Its literal translation is "harvest the day." The phrase and concept
rank as one of the most widely-used across a spectrum of literature,
religion (the prophet Isaiah embraced the premise, "...eat, drink and
be merry; tomorrow we may die...." - 22:13), music, theater (The Dead
Poets Society, e.g.). Carpe diem is popular throughout self-help studies.
In a much simpler form, far less eloquent but equally illustrative:
Yesterday is a cancelled check.
Tomorrow is a promissory note.
Today is cash on hand. How do you want to spend it?
* * *
In researching Kleiser, another gem surfaced:"The habit of being uniformly considerate toward others will bring increased happiness to you."