Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
There's something about these words by Robert Herrick that strikes a chord with me. Of course, I've always seen them coupled with a stunning painting by my favorite Pre-Raphaelite artist, John William Waterhouse, but even alone they are eerily poignant.
Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about life, where I am now, and what adventures and opportunities I should seek out while I am young, single, and have the freedom and the chance. While I disagree with this poem about "that age is best which is the first" and intend to have adventures until the day I die... I never want to hold regrets from when I was young.
Probably the second greatest fear I've ever experienced - the first was that I would be forgotten after my death - was that I would wake up as an old woman and feel intense sorrow because I had not lived my life to its fullest potential. (And that doesn't mean chasing every opportunity that presents itself, doing crazy and dangerous things, and "following my heart," which I've learned is a decidedly poor leader.) But I do want to have treasured every moment, reveled in the beauty of life, walked with the faith of a child, taken the opportunities God has given me, and maybe done one or two wacky, adventurous things in my time. (I'll let you know what those turn out to be. ;)
The last verse of this poem would be more powerful if it said, instead of "go marry," something to the extent of "go and pursue whatever adventure God has called you to." Because, although we've got the same Author, everyone has a different story. And each one is beautiful and unique.
But seriously, let's not waste the potential of our youth in despair, laziness, or dreaming of the future. Let it be said of us that we gathered every rosebud of life with tenderness, awe, and much excitement.
Carpe diem. Seize the day. :)
P.S. This photo is from a really lovely shoot by Mario Testino back in 04. You can see the rest of the images here.