A double-date on a Tuesday night is a luxury and something I might only do on vacation. Even so, when trying to coordinate our busy holiday schedules, a friend and I decided to collect the husbands and get together in the week after Christmas.
“This is for you.” She said as she put something down on the table next to me. A box. Ribbon. “Your birthday is Saturday, right?”
“Of course it is, but you didn’t have to do this.” I was humbled. I had not expected anything from her. We are close but we are new friends, never exchanging gifts before.
“I know.” She smiled. “I hope you like it.”
A beautiful bangle from one of her trips to Africa, it was unique and different and remarkable.
I was so thankful for her care and her concern to bring me something so special. What made it even more precious was that it was unexpected.
Like Erin’s unanticipated birthday gift to me, I’m beginning to learn that a person’s time is also a gift. It is expensive and perhaps the most important kind of gift they can give.
I’ve been remiss in this last year: I’ve expected time from people in ways that they cannot give.
And I didn’t know I was doing it.
We haven’t hung out in awhile; I guess we aren’t very close anymore.
The last time I talked to her was _____.
I can’t call HER because she hasn’t called ME.
I’ve been EXPECTING a gift of time. And when someone didn’t bring me a gift to the table, when someone didn’t set down a pretty package all wrapped up with a perfect ribbon
“Why didn’t you bring me something?!”
How foolish I’ve been.
Time is a gift. It is a beautiful gift. And by nature a gift is something that is freely given, not demanded.
So I am recently resolved to remember that a person’s time is their gift to me and I must treat it that way. When someone does give it to me, I will be gracious. I will not be late. I will not waste it because it is precious. And I when it is not I will not expect it. I will love and I will grace and I will forgive lost months. I will try to treat others as I want to be treated, essentially.
Do you, like me, expect or demand time of others? Do you have trouble reframing your thinking about this? How have you seen time given as a beautiful, unexpected gift?