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.


  1. I think that not having the time can come from many different places - not just the boiled down DGAF you discuss here.

    I think it's important to remember that people can not have the time for many reasons, and that oftentimes, with a little extra perspective, that lack of time and its reasons can be clarified.

    For example, a person (A) might not have the time for someone (B). B is, naturally, upset and all the feelings you've described. But come to find out, A doesn't have the time because (I have filled all of these in with actual reasons from people I actually know who are actually going through said situations right now) ...

    ... A's spouse was recently diagnosed with cancer.

    ... A is battling depression, inner obstacles, fears, worries and doubts.

    ... A is exhausted.

    ... And in my case, for you, I know that when I emerge from my time-restricted hole, you love me unconditionally enough to know that a) I will emerge and b) you will still be there.

    Loves, Sam

  2. Yes, these are all valid reasons. But that's not the stuff I'm talking about in this instance.

    And from my experience, when A is dealing with depression, inner obstacles, fears, worries, and doubts, the best way to get over them is to focus on someone else and spend time caring for someone outside of yourself. Being depressed/anxious/worried tends to give people tunnel vision and taking the time to do something and be there for someone else widens your perspective.

    And I do love you SO SO SO MUCH. So I will be here when you emerge, just like I know you will be there when I have time- and soul-sucking vacuums of stress and insanity in life.