For most of my life, I’ve hated that autumn tradition known as Daylight Savings Time. It’s almost painful to see night fall so early, to give up the possibilities afforded by those evening hours of daylight.
But this year, as we approach the annual “fall back,” I find myself almost giddy with anticipation at the idea of gaining another sixty minutes. An extra hour! How will I spend it? Will I curl up with a book? Make a more elaborate breakfast than usual? Enjoy a relaxed morning with my family rather than do our typical dash-out-the-door-and-hope-to-get-to-Mass-before -the-first-reading ritual?
And my reaction makes me realize something: there is no better gift than the gift of time.
Like many of us, I tend to forget this. It’s so easy to feel dissatisfied with the present, longing instead for future states of being. I want to fast-forward to the time when my kids no longer leave Legos lying around in inconvenient places. I want to skip ahead to the day when we magically have enough in the bank for me to cut back my working hours and breathe a little more deeply (and regularly).
But when I think such thoughts, I’m making the assumption that I will have so much time that I can afford to toss a few months or years away blithely, as if they are expendable. And when it comes right down to it, I don’t want to regard time as something to squander. We get what we get, and the truth is that we never know exactly how much time any of us has coming.
That sounds grim, and perhaps on some level it is. But this awareness reminds me to approach each day with a sense of gratitude, looking not at dreams deferred, but at blessings bestowed. My house is small and messy, but it is a place that brings me joy. My little boys keep me running, but I love them with a love beyond all telling, exactly as they are. And I think that God does a little fist-pump when I savor each day that he has made, regarding it not just as a step towards some elusive achievement, but as a promise fulfilled in its own right.
All of these musings make me remember a telethon I saw for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, many years ago. I went through a thick stack of Kleenex as I watched the interviews with the families. One father, who had lost his toddler to cancer, cried as he spoke about the gift that the doctors there had given him: they hadn’t been able to save his son’s life, but they had extended it. “How can I ever thank them?” the father managed to say, hardly able to speak through his emotion. “How do you thank someone who gives you more time?”
I’ve never forgotten that father, or the power of his words. And maybe I can honor them by hugging my own kids a little closer, savoring the ordinary time that I never seem to value enough. Though I may dream of future comforts, the greatest gift is something I already have: this day, this moment, this precious and beautiful present.
Copyright 2015 Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Photo copyright 2015 Ginny Kubitz Moyer. All rights reserved.