One of our neighbors died last week—he’d been ill for months and in pain. I wrote about buying a gift certificate for his retirement in this post from October 2014. When a customer at the local bistro remarked about my generosity, and I said:
“A man in our neighborhood is having a retirement party, and I know he and his wife like to eat here and purchase wine.”
This was what I wished I’d said:
“A worthy and deserving man in our neighborhood is retiring. He gives us the most valuable thing he has: time. All I’m really giving him is money, and money is just money.”
Recently, I revisited my priorities in order to address this issue of time versus money. Something had been bothering me. More accurately, I’d been neglecting a responsibility more than usual, and it showed. Before I decided how to manage the problem, I wanted to be sure my time and money still matched our values: God, Family and Home, Work.
Since Keith and I moved to Vanaprastha, I’ve increased my God time: morning devotional, afternoon walks, Bible study, and church community. Family responsibilities decreased after our children left home, though household management didn’t change much—finances, house, yard. Regular readers know how much I enjoy puttering around outside—note the daylily in bloom. As for work, instead of teaching, I spend time reading and writing—my work mission.
But, as of today, I take on an additional mission. The good man who died last week was our neighborhood association’s longtime secretary/treasurer. I volunteered to take his place.
Initially, I thought about weaving the new responsibility into my schedule. But, like closet space, there’s only so much time in a day. Something had to give.
God time? Family? Household? Work?
The choice was obvious—that niggling thing I’d been neglecting. I hired a housecleaning service. Money is just money, and in this case, it would buy valuable time.
This morning after devotional, I pulled weeds, fed the dogs, started the laundry, then met the head of our neighborhood road committee at the bank, to get my signature on the association’s bank account. As I was writing this post, the cleaning service came to give me an estimate—they’re coming tomorrow. Later this afternoon, I’ll pack the food I cooked for this evening’s Bible study and drive to church.
Revisiting priorities. Accommodating change.
Until, like our neighbor, my time is up.