Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love is a four-letter word spelled T-I-M-E.

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a remote inland village. One day, he handed his teacher a jar full of white sand, salt water, and seashells. Confused, the teacher asked the boy where he had gotten it, knowing that the nearest ocean was very far. He explained that he had walked many miles over several days to the coast to get it for her. The teacher was touched, but she told the boy he shouldn't have traveled so far just to get her a gift. He said, "But teacher, the journey is part of the gift."

Time is a scarce resource. It is constantly depleting, and we're not guaranteed anything more than this moment. That is why, even though people say there are five "love languages," I think there's really only one. The others are "words of affirmation," "physical touch," "gifts," and "acts of service." The thing about all of those others is that you need time for them to mean anything. You need to know someone to know what words to say that would make them feel affirmed. Getting to know someone takes time. You can't touch someone you're not spending time with. You can't buy someone something without taking time to think about what they like, what would make them happy, and then spending the time going to get it. And acts of service necessitate the time spent doing them. Time is the best way to show someone you love them because everyone has the same amount, so everyone realizes how precious each second is.

In my family, we make the time. We go to the game. We stay up late to talk, even knowing we have to get up early. We drive to the other side of town. Because the journey, the time, is part of the gift. The time shows we care.

Which is why I feel so offended, so affronted, so incensed when someone tells someone else that they "don't have time for them." It screams "you're not important." Because people find time for the things they think are important. They make it a priority to spend time with the things they value. The Bible says "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Don't get me wrong, I'm not correcting the Bible or anything, but I think even more than your treasure, your time is an indicator of where your heart is. Don't tell me you really love something that you spend no time doing. Don't tell me you love a person you never see, you never call, never text. And don't tell another person that you don't have time for them. Because at the end of the day, the homework, the job, the dishes, the trashy TV, the sleep, none of that matters if there isn't a person there.

So, I know this doesn't make a lot of sense. It's a little circular. But someone I love was told that a person they love doesn't have time for them. And it hit a nerve, because I know how much it hurts to be told that the person you love doesn't have time for you. It hurts really badly. It makes you feel small. It makes you feel insignificant and unimportant and kinda worthless.

So here is my vow. I'm never going to tell someone I don't have time for them. I vow to make the time. I vow to forgo the sleep or the trashy TV or the work or the homework. I vow to figure it out. Because people are important. And the best way to show them that is by giving them my time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Here's to saying something.

Hello, dear readers. It's been a while since I've posted, but not for lack of trying. I've started a few posts that I've since discarded because I'm caught in the tension between not wanting to be all bright and shiny and not wanting to air my dirty laundry/every stupid thought/not the nicest things to ever enter my mind in a public forum.

I've made a decision about grad school--I'm getting my MA at a school that is 2,200 miles from home. I will be an RA on a super awesome project that I'm terribly excited about. The spot that I was up for at Geographically Desirable U ultimately went to a man who is graduating from this program who has been working on this terribly exciting project. I took that as a sign that this program develops the kinds of scientists that I want to become, so I'm headed there. As my friends have all told me, I'm going to work super hard and get at least 1 JPSP and then "programs will be throwing money" at me to come there. Plus, I have a dastardly plan to apply for the NSFGRFP next year and win it and then defer and have my own sweet funding which pretty much guarantees me a spot anywhere I wanna go because schools wouldn't have to pay for me. It's genius. The place I'm moving to is very... historical. And here's the kicker--I might end up living in a house with a real white picket fence. I know. I feel so traditional =)

In other news, I've been chewing on something for a while. You see, readers, I'm not really one to hold a grudge. I know what you're going to say, best friend, and you're wrong. In most cases, most of the time, I don't hold grudges. I'm notoriously bad at the silent treatment. I cannot tell you how many times as a child that I promised myself I would NEVER speak to my parents again, only to forget my vows within the hour and return to my previously amicable self. I am still friendly with all most of my exes. I think it's because I'm socially lazy. Making friends is difficult. Making new friends while simultaneously maintaining your vitriol against old friends is especially difficult. Let's face it, maintaining vitriol against anyone is especially difficult. Being upset takes a lot of energy. Wanting to share something funny or interesting or exciting or sad or lame with someone who has been your go-to person for days or months or years and then remembering that you can't is... draining. When I was fighting with best friend last year, there were so many times when I picked up the phone to call or text her something meaningless only to remember that I couldn't. Because we were mad. And being mad precluded the 4 1/2 years of good friendship that we had. So I would tell other people about my best friend... who I wasn't speaking to. She did the same thing. It was absurd. When we finally made up, we spent about 6 weeks saying "I'm so glad we're not fighting anymore." It was such a relief. It was a weight lifted. It was like I could breathe again.

I recently read this article about how our generation has taken the stance that "if you can scream something without saying anything, the most disrespectful thing you can do is to not say anything. By saying nothing, we deprive you of the most basic thing we’ve come to hold dear: information." This is why I'm always astounded when someone I know can and does hold a grudge. For months. And I have to say, this silent treatment thing, it kills me. I can deal with screaming. I can handle cursing and crazy gestures. I can even handle things being thrown at me. But silence, silence screams something far worse than hatred. At least if someone is fighting, it means they care enough TO fight.