Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Money can't buy me love...or time

Last year a friend was relating her "busy day" to me and it included three hours sewing while her children napped.  I think I managed not to snort.  For the past few years, I have said it is not a busy day unless it includes a tough choice between sleep and basic hygiene.

Some dear friends have asked us many times if we need any money at the moment and we may take them up on the offer one day in the future if we need to, but right now what I am running low on is  time.

Unfortunately most of our friends and family:
work full time and have a million other commitments
are exceptionally busy with their own family and other commitments
live many hours drive away/on the mainland/on a different contenant
ALL of the above.

So time is a much harder thing to give than money.

The other week a dear friend came and helped Jon clear out a whole heap of his workshop so we could fit a new freezer and some kitchen cupboards we got second hand for a fantastic price in there.  The time he invested in us is as greatly appreciated as the other types of support people have shown us.

I think back to the days when I THOUGHT I was busy and I realise what a precious commodity I used to regularly waste.  I wish I had been more generous with my time back then.

I wish I had used it more wisely to serve my family and keep our home more comfortable and our tummies pleasingly filled.

I wish I had cooked meals or muffins and dropped them around to people who needed them - or even just to people who would be given a boost to have someone think of them.

I wish I had offered to take a basket of ironing for someone who was busy or under stress.

I wish I had offered to clean the bathroom or kitchen of a friend who was pressed for time or energy.

But I didn't do those things. 

I didn't offer to do things for others because I was worried about offending them by implying they couldn't cope and I didn't realise what a true blessing it would be to have someone come in and non-judgementally give a hand.

And I thought I was SO busy.
I spent so much time worrying about the BEST way to do something in my home or with my kids, researching, checking blogs, collecting resources, that I ended up DOING very little.

Instead of just getting in and doing stuff I let it pile up until it was overwhelming and then rushed around being "busy".

And I missed the opportunity to be generous with my time.

If I could write to myself five years ago I would say:  

Relax....and get up of your backside and do stuff.

Stop stressing about getting it right and just do it. 

There will never be a perfect schedule, routine, resource, moment to do all those things you are planning so just do them anyway and you will be amazed what happens.

Don't worry about being the best, just worry about doing better than you did yesterday.

If you make a compassionate offer to help someone without judgement - it will rarely offend.  And if it does, you can always apologise.  It is rare that it will loose you a friend.

Quit filling your time with fancy things you think will impress others or trying to instigate big, fancy traditions you think will make memories for the kids.

It is better to do small things with your children than big things for them.  

The fancy cakes you stress over and fail to make every birthday are insignificant; the simple, round cake with lollies smushed into the icing by little fingers build far more memories and joyThey will be your tradition and you will not feel guilty about that.   

Big birthday parties, dinner parties, fancy schmancy craft projects are great, when done in moderation and during the right season.  If they stop you being available to your family and friends they are not worth it.

Quit the computer for six months and you will be amazed how much time you find.

LIVE your life to the full.

Pick up your Bible, read it daily with your kids and to yourself.

Memorise chunks of it.

Learn that the fact that you like steam punk, tattoos and Dr. Who does not make you less Holy - but your stinkin' judgemental attitude and selfishness kind of does.

And you will find you have time to be kind.

To show love.

To help.

And that is priceless.


Liz said...

If I could package up some time I'd send it to you.

Is there something that people from afar can help with, like pooling money to pay for a once a week cleaner for a month or something like that?

Jess said...

Thanks for the thought Liz.

We thought about getting a cleaner but cleaning isn't what takes time, it is putting all the stuff away so we can clean! A cleaner would just add pressure to tidy up by a certain time so the cleaner could do their job. The house is reasonably clean, it is projects like gardening, rearranging furniture, teaching the kids to swim etc. that are not getting the time they need unfortunately! We do have some friends who would be willing to take the older 4 or 5 for a day but by the time we drop them off and collect them again, that's most of the day. Hopefully one day soon we will get a friend or two to come and help Jon with some building and gardening. It is just a matter of working in with their work schedules and family commitments

Jess said...

We are CONSIDERING getting a gardener to help out a bit with the gardening/landscaping work that has been started and let go around the place.

Seaweed and Raine said...

Good advice... just remember to go easy on your friends when they don't meet up to your measure of what you have discovered - they have their own set of issues and are probably living life the best way they have figgured for the time being. Keep loving them - even if they have warts! :D