The actual quote, “Beware the Ides of March,” is from Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar (1599). The warning is uttered by a soothsayer who is letting Roman leader Julius Caesar know that his life is in danger, and he should probably stay home and be careful when March 15, the Ides of March, rolls around. Of course, Caesar did not stay home a thousand years and several centuries before Shakespeare wrote his tragedy about 12 senators stabbing Caesar in the back. Now, the day and the quote live on in infamy.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine website, a few
other devastating events happened on March 15. In 1939 Germany occupied Czechoslovakia. Nazi troops seized the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, effectively wiping Czechoslovakia off the map. On March 15, 1941, a Saturday-night blizzard struck the northern Great Plains, leaving at least 60 people dead in North Dakota and Minnesota and six more in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. A light evening snow did not deter people from going out—“after all, Saturday night was the time for socializing,” Diane Boit of Hendrum, Minnesota, would recall—but “suddenly the wind switched, and a rumbling sound could be heard as 60 mile-an-hour winds swept down out of the north.” And on March 15, 1952, a rainfall began on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion—and kept falling, hard enough to register a world record 24-hour rainfall of 73.62 inches.
But who cares? Do we really believe that March 15 is any different than any other day? We could say, “Beware of September 17” or “Beware of June 28!” You should beware of that last one. It is my birthday. This is to say that you shouldn’t only, “Beware the Ides of March.” You should beware every day. Beware of your blessings. Beware of your woes. Beware of the needs around you. Beware of the beauty of life.
Here are a few daily practices I use to help me be aware. I read my Bible. Specifically, I read the proverb of the day. There happens to be 31 Proverbs and 31 days in the month. The wisdom shared in those scriptures almost always speak directly to my life in some way. For instance, one day I read Proverbs 15:1 that said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I needed to be guided by those very words as I counseled with a friend in a con-tentious situation. The words came just as he needed them.
Another daily practice is prayer. But this isn’t just any prayer. It is a prayer of thanksgiving. I give thanks for being loved by God. I say thanks for Hudson and Sarah, my extended family, the church and my job, and that God called me to be more than I was ever able to be on my own. Then, I pray for intercession in the lives of those I love who need healing. Finally, I pray a prayer of motivation. This is kind of like a football prayer. It pumps me up. I pray, “let me enjoy this day, love deeply, and be aware of your Spirit in all people and places.”
Finally, another practice I have daily is to know joy and to get out of my analytical brain and into my creative brain. I have hobbies that help me do this. For example, pyrography (wood burning), which is slow and intentional, or practicing a guitar lesson. These hobby practices get me out of a work mode and help me appreciate another part of life. These disciplines wake me up to the life surrounding me every day. They help me be aware. I hope you will do some of the disciplines that help you be aware every day, too.
Rev. Trey Hegar