Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Time

It seems there are some of us who never have enough. Begging for extra hours in the day, complaining that we can't cram our plans into the allotted space. We all get the same allotment, but somehow, some have more of it than others.

Some people have too much time on their hands. Too many hours to fill with something besides ghosts of things lost, people past. The clocks that some of us glance at in our haste to make it to the next item on our list of things to do, sit and quietly mock them as the moments tick-tick by in a muddy interminable procession.

I will admit to being harried and hurried even as I try to forcibly slow life down to a human pace. I will admit to losing hours and suddenly being late or run-run-running from one thing to the next even after I've determined to limit the necessity for such. We live in a mostly hurried and harried world. Mostly.
There are people who fall through the cracks, though. People who see an empty day ahead not as a luxury, but as something to be endured, blurred with the days before and after. We don't like to think of those people. Perhaps we don't slow down enough to consider. We take for granted our brimming days and sometimes nights. We lose the ability to concentrate.

Today we load up the car. Presents and parents and monkeys and preparations. We load up the car and we slip through the crack. We take a few of our busy days and we give them away. We give them away when we'd rather guard them selfishly with our stalwart pajama-clad selves. We give these few days away when we need them so much to ourselves to regenerate, refresh, renew. We give them away because that is what we do. A gift means more when it comes with sacrifice. A gift means more when it is something someone really wants.

We'll take our busy-ness and our days and fill up some time for a lonely soul. A lonely soul who sometimes forgets how to see that things are good, who sometimes loses touch with what it means to care. A lonely soul who is wrapped so tightly in grief and longing, the needs of others recede into the far distance. We give because we love. Not because we can fix or change or because it's comfortable, but because it's what we have to give. Because we have these precious, overflowing hours of noise, of gaiety, of chaos. Because we can fill some bleak and empty time with our own breed of magic.

Undoubtedly, the time will drag for some and be gone too quickly for others. Undoubtedly, it won't be enough. It's never enough. There's never enough life to make up for what's lost. There's never enough joy to make up for the emptiness of days. But we give because we love. Because we love and because it's ours to give. We give it away in order to gain perspective, to appreciate the time we have.
We take our days and slip through the cracks and we give the most precious thing we have.
We give because we love.


  1. I LOVE the idea of giving our time as a gift. I do wish someone could gift me a few more hours- though I'd probably spend it reading blogs.

  2. I'm sort of obsessed with our perception of the passage of time. It's kind of a tangent of the whole does what we believe about something change the essential truth of it that was being discussed over at The M Half last week. We generally think of time as a concrete, measurable structure, but there are all kinds of debates raging about whether it actually is or not among scientists all over the world.

    Regardless of whatever laws of phsyics may or may not be involved, our time is truly one of the greatest we can give. (And sometimes the most difficult to give freely.) I hope you enjoy your holiday visits.

  3. The phrase "the inexorable march of time" crops up frequently in my writing. As someone who is retired, after working since age eleven, and never having one half the time required to accomplish what I needed to accomplish, I find that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Being "harried and hurried" is a fact of life, unless, maybe, you are retired. No matter, that. I still have only half the time I need to do the things I want to do. One of them is to visit my favorite sites, and see what's available for my reading pleasure. Thank-you for that.

  4. What a wonderful reminder that gifts can be so simple. In my post "How to celebrate Christmas meaningfully", we were mulling over this issue and concluded that our gifts to our children would be mostly calm, unhurried, one-on-one time with them over the holidays, because that's what we would all love the most, and what is not always easiest to give.

  5. "Time, time, time. See what's become of me." The gift of time is the one that means the most to me. It's the hardest to give, wondering whether the receiver is as interested in spending time as I am. Is it narcissistic to think that time with ME is a GIFT?! Is it really a selfish motivation - fulfilling a want that I have to spend time with the other person? Who's giving and who's receiving here?

    All in a hazy shade of winter.

  6. Time is such a precious commodity in modern life. I know I feel like that right now. How to make the best decision about its use? How to KNOW that I am using it well. I appear to be engaged right now (as in this year) in a bit of dismay over time's disappearance. Where did the last 30 years go? and, combined with that, is the fear that I am not using the time I left in this life well. GRRRRRRR - I am angry and afraid.

  7. I've been thinking about the gift of time a lot lately. This season, in particular, has been one where I haven't felt as though I had a lot of time to give and yet finding hidden moments to share.

    Beautifully written as always.


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