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.