Vespere promittunt multi quod mane recusant.
Many make promises in the evening which they reject in the morning.
(pron = WES-per-eh proh-MIT-toont MOOL-tee kwod MAH-neh reh-KOO-sahnt)
Comment: “It seemed like such a good idea last night.” Sometimes that
sentiment might be the product of the obvious—chemical influence—drugs or
alcohol. Or it might be the product of clarity. This proverb really can cut
two different ways. And it all depends on what “evening” means to us. I note
that the proverb does not conclude which side of the promise making was wise
and which was foolish—only that day and night bring different attitudes about
The popular interpretation will be that evening brings darkness, and darkness
implies all kinds of evil indulgence and influence. Hence, night time is when
people drink and drug and make bad decisions in the midst of drug induced
stupor. And, there are plenty of willing testimonials to back up this
There are mystical traditions, however, which see darkness, especially darkness
that borders on daylight—like dawn and dusk—as magical times, powerful times of
clarity which allow the individual to really see him/herself, to gain real
clarity about life, relationships and choices. What daylight brings, then, are
all the influences that interfere with such clarity. In these mystical
traditions, dawn and dusk become places of very important reflection and
meditation—the places to make good decisions, the places out of which we live
when the conflict of daytime arrives and makes us doubt.
I suspect that most of us have had these moments in the dark—when, alone with
our selves, we, even if for a moment, really hear, really see, really
understand. Later, when daylight comes, when social and other expectations
bear down on us, we doubt what we saw, heard and understood in the quiet, still
of night. Those moments are worth revisiting, and paying attention to.
Occasio aegre offertur, facile amittitur.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 449)
(Pron = oh-KAH-see-oh AI-gray ohf-FER-toor FAH-kih-lay ah-MIT-ti-toor)
The right moment comes along rarely and is easily lost.
Comment: There was a television evangelist who was on prime-time religion
broadcasting for many years whose theme was “miracles are coming towards you or
past you every day.” He would say that Publilius has a dim view on the right
moment or opportunity, and how often it presents itself.
I think that while I would not want to make a claim about miracles, and how
often they come flying by, I would also question the negative tone of
Publilius’ sententia. I find that the moments or opportunities that come along
in my life are the ones I am looking for. Let that sink in for a moment. What
are you looking for today? My own experience is that my expectations, hopes,
fears, wishes, needs, etc, tend to define and frame how I will experience the
people and situations around me all day long.
Likewise, if I can acknowledge these “things I am looking for” and gently let
them go, I will still have a day, still be in touch with people and situations,
and each of them becomes the right moment—each as it happens. And each, then,
comes with its own delightful qualities—as they are, to me, as I am.
I will agree with Publilius—such moments can be easily lost. It all depends on
what you are looking for.
(Used with permission)
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