The Gift of Time

Karen - Pella, Iowa
Entered on March 27, 2009

What is of value are those gifts that are truly only yours to give. One’s full and undivided attention with the gift of time is the great equalizer among men. No one can buy more, spend more, get more or demand more. How a person spends their given 24 hours and the degree to which they are fully present in those moments are the reflections of priorities and is truly the only thing we give that is personally wholely ours. Giving moments matter.

Thirteen years ago, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I was hesitant to share this information with family members or acquaintances. I felt so alone. Where does one begin this battle? It seemed daunting until a co-worker stepped into the journey to share the pain and tears. This mentor gave me what I desperately needed time and her focus. My tears fell, anger spewed, listlessness developed, focus ceased, yet she walked the road by giving of her time and presence. Throughout the journey she accompanied me, negative thoughts would recede and then erupt with unbelievable force. Her willingness to drop what she was doing to talk, cry, listen, share ideas or laugh with me, changed how I choose to live life and helped me heal.

Because of that journey, I began giving focus and time to hurting people. As I gave heartfelt moments, lives could be changed, improved, influenced. I knew because I was visible proof. For the past thirteen years, I’ve taken opportunities to spend time making a difference. Several years ago, I was invited to visit one of my former students at a military academy for juvenile delinquents. It was a two-hour drive to the facility for a meeting that would last less than thirty minutes but I choose to go. Colleagues laughed at the suggestion but time and presence was all I was able to give this bright, young man. I had connected with him at the high school and felt a call to give what I could so I drove. Upon arrival, clad in his slippers and facility uniform, tears filled his eyes when he saw me. He stood, gave a hug, and thanked me repeatedly for coming.

I’ve chosen to sit with a friend for hours as she stared out the window hoping her husband would return to her. I’ve taken a young acquaintance out for coffee, because she was lonely, needed someone to confide in, share her brokenness and confusion about life.

Life is filled with opportunities to give moments to friends, family and strangers. Each minute you choose to give away to others can powerfully influence their lives. I believe, we each have the ability to give from ourselves a smile, a touch, a listening ear, compassion, understanding, a piece of our heart to those who cross our path. There is no greater gift to give than for human beings to know they are valued, appreciated, noticed, visible or loved through the gift of time.