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Lee R. McNab

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Gifts and trinkets, or time?
by Lee R. McNab   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, October 29, 2007
Posted: Monday, October 29, 2007

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Reflections on life, and what is important.

There are times in life when opportunities for reflection arise. Perhaps due to a change in circumstance, visiting friends and relatives, heartbreak, a new child or grandchild, a change in job or location – a brief pause or a redirection of life that demands a time of reflection.

It happened to me recently. I live away from my relatives and can only visit infrequently. Anticipation was high as I traveled, some of my relatives I hadn't seen for over four years, others had changed jobs and locations, I had grandchildren I hadn't seen. There was so much to catch up on and I was thankful that the opportunity to do so had presented itself.

As often happens, expectations exceeded reality. Others have their own lives to live, time is precious for many and the fast paced lives others lead sometimes leave little time for communication. I became frustrated at the loss of opportunities for communication, for sharing lives and hearts, for fostering understanding. The dinners, the gifts, the 'lets do something for her while she's here' were wonderful tokens of caring but the times that were the most meaningful for me were the morning we were so caught up in talking that we didn't realize lunch time had come and gone, the grandkids sidling up to me putting their arms around me and saying “I'm gonna miss you grandma'”, the day my daughter and I were invited out with a friend and some neighbor kids who were the same age as my daughter where we all just talked and talked. When I look back it was the times of communication, sharing heart to heart, seeking to understand and striving to accept that meant the most.

There was a lesson there for me. I came home bringing gifts and trinkets with me. My little seven year old was all smiles as she saw me coming out of the airport. I missed her. She missed me. My dear hubby was there waiting, strong and caring. We came home and I listened. I listened to my little girl as she told me about her lose tooth, and the flowers she brought, how she'd taken care of my plants while I was gone and her new pink curtains. I opened my suitcases and showed her what I'd brought back. She was enthusiastic about her new clothes, of course she had to taste the snack I'd brought with me, and she giggled at the jokes in her new book. But then they were all set aside. She perched on the edge of the bed and kept talking and hugging and loving. I brought hubby a nice bottle of port. After the kids were in bed he poured us both a drink and then we sat and talked and talked. This morning, taking time to reflect, I realized that is after all what life is all about. Caring, sharing, talking, giving of your time and yourself to others.

Whenever I visualize Jesus I see Him talking, laughing, caring, giving of Himself and His time to others. He had time for the children, He went out of his way to talk to the woman at the well, He called Zaccheus down from the tree so He could talk with him. Time. Communication. If I can give myself, my time, my listening ear and my understanding to another it will be time well spent. The good things we do for others are worthy, the gifts we buy, the outward expressions of love we offer—but the greatest compliment I can give is to sit and listen, to joke, to laugh, to share my thoughts in free conversation. After all, at the end of the day, what is remembered is the warmth that came from connecting with another.

My time of reflection ended. It is my prayer that I can be that kind of mother to my children, friend to those around me, wife to my husband.

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