Gift Of TimeAugust 22nd, 2008
My Grandmother’s birthday is creeping up at the end of month, and again I’m faced with the challenge of knowing I can not possibly purchase anything that will show how much I care for her. There comes a time when you stop making jokes about how cluttered her house it, when you realize all the little knick-knacks are not her own doing. It is the years of children, grand-children and now even great-grandchildren trying to figure out what to get to show love and appreciation to this woman who was once expelled for being so daring as to wear pants to school, who has seen wars waged, freedom’s won, lived through the Great Depression, seen the race to space, what could I present to her as a token of my appreciation?
Time. Time is that thing you can never find enough of, no matter who you are. Smiles, laughter, and sharing memories. Even if they aren’t my own, but giving her the audience to recall her memories and what brings her joy. I have found this is something people appreciate more than I had ever realized. Every day on my way to work, I pass many folks on the street and I make a point of smiling, giving a compassionate nod, offering a word in empathy, and compassion. Not sympathy or pity. Most often folks don’t have children still around, or companions to listen to their stories, to give them an ear or an audience. I believe that is the draw the St. Anthony Dining Room and our other services. Creating that space for people to find a community, to share a meal, to talk to volunteers and share stories with our student volunteers. Reconnect.
It seems like the most simple thing ever, but when you boil it all down, that’s what all of us want. A smile, words of kindness, and an ear to share stories and laughter. It makes me really proud to be a part of an organization that can offer that to folks who could probably use a few extra smiles, and the gift of time and compassion.
Another great thing about the gift of time, it doesn’t require dusting.