Have you received a gift of time recently? Have you given one?
I received one this morning when my Tuesdays with Terry buddies showed up at our regular meeting spot despite long drives through blowing snow, cold weather, and wind chills sufficient to close every school in the area including the colleges (they NEVER close). In fact they had just about written me off because a clogging snow blower cost me a lot of time in getting the driveway cleared before I could join them. But the weather didn’t matter, they were there.
My brother called the other day just to chat, and we talked for forty-five minutes. We often do. He works the graveyard shift so an afternoon phone call is not trivial for him, he should be sleeping. But he was there.
My sister and my daughter each drop me little text messages from time to time; messages about important and not so important things going on in their lives. But they take the time to stay in touch. They let me know they are there.
My wife called her mother last night just to check in and see how she was doing. Mom is ninety years old; she needs that regular call to keep her connected with her family as small as it is. My daughter called her Grandma on Halloween and shared more than half an hour of fun while Mom handed out treats to the young ones wandering through her assisted living building. My wife and daughter both let Mom know they were there.
Of course you may recall my post of a few weeks ago when a dear friend of mine gave a whole group of us the gift of time, a fireside gathering decades in the making. What a tremendous gift, to let us know she was still there and that we were always welcome.
Those gifts of time mean a lot to me, they help me feel appreciated, important, loved. And I don’t show that, I don’t reciprocate often enough; I tend to be a little selfish with my time. It’s too easy sometimes to just wish that call would be over or to ask why she bothered to send me a text message about that trivial thing, or to be tempted to just not show up on that Tuesday morning. It’s too easy to just put off that phone call another day and then forget to make it at all.
It’s taking a real attitude adjustment on my part to recognize those gifts for their significance. I’ve been working a lot harder lately to put aside what I’m doing and fully engage in that phone call or that text exchange and not think so much about the time I’m giving up. Maybe I’m learning how to give back, and give a little more than I’m used to.
I’m really beginning to appreciate those gifts as expressions of love, caring, genuine interest, concern, and sharing. I see that in those gifts of time we give and receive come the opportunity to engage in more of life’s perfect moments. Perhaps with age comes the wisdom to grasp those opportunities instead of passing them by. After all, we can’t take things with us. But life’s perfect moments are written into our memories and infused into our hearts and souls. Those we do take with us. They are what make life worth living. And they are offered through the gifts of time.
Working on giving away more of my time…Pops