Time is a Gift

How many times have I wrapped up yet another sweater or book that was carefully chosen as a gift for a loved one and felt somehow that I was getting it all wrong? Not that my husband wouldn’t like the color of the sweater, or my friend would find the book dull, but the idea of a real gift was somehow lost by the ordinariness of just buying something. Sometimes I made things, knit, sewn or cooked by my own hands, yet still it was just something that eventually made it to the back reaches of drawers or cupboards, mostly forgotten, even if much appreciated.

In this crazy world we live in, hamstrung by work, family and money obligations, the most valuable currency we have is that of time. Spending the equivalent of a day’s wages on a gift may mean a big financial sacrifice, but taking the day off to celebrate love, rekindle friendship, to laugh and to connect in person with the people who matter most is usually an even bigger challenge. I decided that I wanted to find time instead of buy gifts as a much more meaningful, and memorable gesture of caring and appreciation. I was going to organize a simple visit or outing to say in person, in “real” time, that this birthday, this anniversary, this special occasion is special enough for me to drop everything and make a personal appearance to say so. It’s me, not the pot of flowers that should make a surprise appearance on my friend’s doorstep as a reminder that we are connected in a deep and meaningful way. The flowers last a few days, the memory of a surprise visit where time is the gift, lives on.

The beauty of time as a gift is that it doesn’t need any specific occasion really, we just give it generously to those who deserve it the most because, as our most precious commodity, the sharing of it is intrinsically meaningful. To make time in a hectic schedule, where dental appointments and exercise classes complete with making a living, making dinner and doing homework with the kids, is no easy task sometimes. But that is why the leisurely coffee with your recently divorced friend, or your sister who is home with a cold, matters so much.

Presents are lovely tokens of our thoughtfulness of our desire to show in a tangible way that we are thinking of how special and dear someone is to us. Giving our time, to listen, and laugh or help out is better than anything in a box because it remains long after the gift-wrapping is discarded.

Kate Greene

Prince Edward Island, Canada

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