The gift of time

July 28, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

I was recently given a piece of literature from a nurse that has worked with my 87-year-old mother. My mom has heart failure and other aging ailments.

“A Time To Live, Living with a Life-Threatening Illness,” by Barbara Karnes was written to help give the reader a different outlook on her life situation. The contents and “story” of the booklet are just as important for the loved ones.

This publication ends with the great reminder that life is so short. We say this. We hear this. And yet it is funny how we may not really take this to heart. We have this knowledge, yet we may not act upon it with true understanding.

We carry on with all of the “hecticities” of the day because even with this knowledge, the busy-ness of each day goes on.

Time is a gift. Do we treat it as such?

“It isn’t until we begin to lose something that we find its true worth,” the author writes. At the end of each day we should ask ourselves, “What did I do today that I traded a day of my life for? Did I laugh today? Did I give someone a smile? Did I hold someone’s hand?” The author asks of the reader.

It reminds the reader that she or he has been given the time now, each day, to focus on what has real meaning to them.

“Dying a gradual death makes us the fortunate ones. We have been given the opportunity to say I love you, to amend the mistakes, to ride the roller coaster, to say good-bye.”

I feel that I, and my family, have been given a gift. The gift of time. My mother is living out her life, and we are lucky enough to enjoy this with her.

My mom has not lost her gift to socialize. And this is truly a gift for her. She continues to enjoy this when so many of her other loves are now housed solely in her memory bank. Anyone my mother comes in contact with will receive my mother’s gift.

My mom is not “nosey,” she just really likes people. Conversation is what keeps my mom going. She saves her energy for conversing, and so it is, she finds pleasure in the “little” things which are really the magnificent things in life.

So it brings me to this from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-9 (also printed in the booklet)

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time to war, and a time for peace.”

What gain has the worker from his toil?

Life is so short. May we take the time each day to do those things that ultimately mean the most to us.

May we all contemplate on those things that are the most meaningful and magnificent to each of us, and may we act upon those so that at the end of the day we will be satisfied when we ask ourselves, “What did I do today that I traded a day in my life for?”