“It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
— Winston Churchill
I got nothing, yet I have everything.
Monday – a nurse.
Tuesday – a teacher.
Wednesday – a neighbor.
Friday – an aunt.
Saturday – a letter carrier.
Sunday – a sister and brother in-law.
These past seven days, I’ve tried to recognize the contributions of people who give something to my family that we cannot repay.
In doing so, it reveals some of the magic, mystery, and paradox of giving one’s time away.
I’ll never know how the letters I sent will be received. In turn, the people listed above won’t ever know the contribution they’ve made to my life, or the lives of my family members.
When you give your time away to help someone, with no expectation of compensation, a magic and mystery seem to arise. The more you give, the more you receive. It’s trite, it’s ignored, it’s a paradox, and it’s powerful.
After over two years of giving my time and writing about it nearly every day, I’m more convinced than ever that this path of giving time is paved with magic. I have less free time than ever, yet finally feel liberated. The more I think about helping someone else, the more I seem to help myself. The more I focus on finding solutions for the problems of others, the fewer problems I seem to have. I don’t know why. It’s a mystery.
I hope that by continuing on this path, I can convince you, dear reader, dear friend, to give your time with intention every day. It’s counter-intuitive, counter to common sense, and counterfeit to everything the world teaches us. It’s not a panacea, but over time it seems to bring peace. It opens doors and opens hearts. It goes slowly. Takes time. It’s imperfect and unpredictable. Rough and rocky, like a mountain path. But somehow, magically, it takes you someplace higher.
And I hope it takes you to a place where you get nothing, but have everything.
Today’s gift of time … Appreciating the In-Betweeners Day 7 (final day) … Sent a thank you to my sister and brother in-law for helping my mother-in-law age gracefully, independently, and with dignity. She’s given, and continues to give, a lot.
Thank you very much for a beautiful and thought-provoking posting. You reminded me to spare some time to write my sister in South Africa. She’s asked me to write her more often, but I have failed to do so. My excuses have been that she’s not on Facebook nor any other social media, but that’s exactly what they are. Nothing more than excuses. Thanks for reminding me that I have the power to make moments magical simply by sharing time with someone. So easy yet so difficult.
Thank you for the thoughts, Michelle. I hope that this is the start of a long, memorable, and beautiful letter exchange with your sister.