Lessons taught by time

Growing up, I was the baby of six kids. Three sisters, two brothers then me. When you come from a big family there are always clicks, siblings that are closer than others. Personally, I idealized my middle sister. She was something special, an amazing artist, and so beautiful. She was everything I wanted to be.

The youngest of my older sisters was always in trouble. I saw the heartache and pain she constantly caused my parents and I shied away from her. My oldest sister was off in the Air Force from the time I was a toddler. We didn’t see each other much until years later.

So for me, the sun rose and set with the middle sister.

Fast forward a few years. By this time, my sister had her own place by the beach. When my husband had to travel to California for business, I went to great lengths to make sure I could accompany him. We found a hotel that straddled the difference between his work and her house. The travel time was about an hour.

I called her the morning she was to drive up. Instead of learning the time she’d arrive, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned exactly where I was on the pecking order.

As expected, she had the day off, but rather than drive the hour to see me, she said she just wanted a lazy day at home. She’d catch me next time… Next time? We’d had this planned for weeks. I specifically came along to spend time with my sister. Instead, I spent several days inside a hotel room while my hubby trekked an extra hour to work each day – so it would be more convenient for my sister.

It was a valuable lesson though. It taught me time is a priceless gift. Now a days when someone accepts an offer to spend time with me – I appreciate it. The flip side is true too.

We spent a short time living near my in-laws. My husband’s work had relocated us across the country. At the time, we were pleased that it was close to his family. My sister in-law had offered to show me around and so forth. So one Saturday I asked if she’d like to go shopping. There was some hemming and hawing then she said, “I can give you an hour.”

Thankfully I was too shocked for my mouthed to work, otherwise family relations would have been much more strained than they were at the time. She had already told me she didn’t have much planned. So her reply had caught me off completely off guard. By allotting only a small amount of time to spend with me, I felt like a charity case. Again, it was a lesson learned though. And proving I’m a very good student, I only needed to be taught that specific lesson once. Never again, have I asked for a moment of her time.

Fast forward a few more years and here we are planning another trip. One of my friends is having surgery and can’t get around well. I offered to come to her house and visit there rather than have her be uncomfortable out and about. The shock in her voice, proved she didn’t know she ranked that high in the pecking order. While this friend was surprised and happy to learn she was a priority, another taught us we’re a convenience. “Check with me, when you get here. We’ll see what’s going on then.” Okay, lesson learned.

Time is a priceless gift. It’s an elusive resource. When our ‘clock’ stops ticking, no amount of money can replenish the time spent. Along the way, I’ve learned it’s a very trustworthy means of measure.  Those people that will give you their time are showing you how much they value you. They are giving you a piece of themselves they’ll never get back.

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