The Gift of Time

My kids keep asking me what I want for Christmas. On the way to church this week I finally figured it out! And it’s worth a lot!

I asked my kids to guess what it was. I said, “A bottle of …” - and the answers came flying back at me. After I said no to each guess, I told them what it was. I’d like the gift of time. If I could bottle it up, preserve it, and then sell it, I know I’d be well-off – and maybe even the most sought-after person in the whole world.

After a very inspiring church service this week, and after a week of observing many hurting people in my life, I’d really prefer this gift to anything. Because I think of those caring for the elderly, those with relational strains, finance or work-related problems, sickness, and those fighting loneliness and depression (exact examples from our pastor!) – people are really hurting. And if I had more time, I could give more of it to those in need!

Our family headed off to the mall Saturday night, as my daughter and her friend, Sofia, performed a song together on the piano and violin. We had told our children to preserve the night for “family.” That meant – whatever Mom and Dad say we’re going to do – we do it!

After the performance, we met up with some great friends and shared a meal. In a sense we took our hospitality with us. It was easier to meet, eat out, and not cook up a big meal. Our time together was long past due. These friends are such a “balcony” couple in our lives. They give and give (and give!) to us. And they never look back and ask for anything in return. That is an amazing gift in itself! They are older than us and retired, and have the gift of time to give to others. We are mid-aged, hard working, with 3 very active children, trying to make it through some of the most crucial years in life.

We then hopped in the car and went to see an elderly couple, recently moved into a retirement home. We told our kids in advance to ask questions! Older people love to talk – they love to talk about their lives and pasts. They are often so lonely that the gift of conversation (especially from kids!) is another gift we can give!

There was something magical about our evening as a family. Not only did we give up an evening at home together (TV, eating, vegging, back-rubs …), we gave our lives away by taking our time and passing on love to others.

On the way to church this week I pointed out this lesson to our family, as they questioned me about my Christmas list. And as I told them how I wanted the “gift of time,” and how essential it is to think outside of ourselves, I only wished I had more of it, to cultivate and maintain both old and new friendships. We all get too wrapped up and busy …

What do I want for Christmas?

If anyone knows where I can buy a precious bottle of time, please let me know!

(Photos taken in Dublin - a speeding bus whizzing by; the dance hall where Paul's parents met)


ValleyGirl said...

You said it so perfectly. Interesting that something so inexpensive can be the perfect gift and yet it's something so many people find costs too much to give. Hmmmmm, you've given me a lot to think about once again! I think it's so beautiful and inspiring how you deliberately look for lessons in life to teach your kids and how you involve them so much.

linda t said...

Thanks for the reminder to spend more time with my in laws that I love dearly, especially my mom-in-law.
I have been thinking what to give her... and now I know.
Thanks Sandy. You always come through with those special ideas with our loved ones.

Julie said...

Very well said, Sandy!

I just arrived home from spending 4 solid days babysitting my grandkids. I had nothing BUT time.....just them and me! Even though I'm a wee bit tired, I'm grateful that my son and daughter in law had TIME alone together, for their FIRST vacation ever in 7 years of marriage. (That's military life.) I gave them the gift of time, and I received time with my grandkids.

If only time COULD be bottled - (I'm remembering the late Jim Croce song 'Time in a Bottle') but then, it would be pricey, don't you think?

I pray that somehow your family is able to give you this most precious gift!

Nadine said...

If I could bottle time, I would be a very rich woman. Great post. I love how you share your heart. Thanks Sandy.

Org Junkie said...

What a beautiful evening for your family and such a great example for your children.

jason said...

great blog...keep it up

suburban prep said...

Time with family--the most important.

momrn2 said...

Our minds are so much on similar things! Just this week my daughter said, "Mom, you haven't said what you want for Christmas yet."

My response was that I want to just have time... time to spend with my family. Time to slow down a bit and reflect on the things so very important. Time to rest in some quietness...with God Time....

Once again such a beautiful and reflective post!

Mary Cuellar said...

Honestly,the only way that I get any extra time is if I get up at 4:30am...lol~ so let me know whenever you get the answer!

I do however want to tell you that I think your blog is really cute,and that I will be droping in now.Great job! Have a great weekend!