Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gift of Time



I'm at that point in life ~

two teens
one husband : )
one dog
under 
one roof ~

where it's crazy busy.




So busy, in fact, that
I have to schedule
phone chats ~

write them 
on the calendar ~

with those who 
mean the most 
to me.



I was savoring one
of these very calls
last week, with one
of my dearest friends,
Kathleen.

For those of you who
have been asking for
an update, Kathleen's
breast cancer {despite
a double mastectomy in
2010} has returned.

She started chemo 
last Monday.



Her doctor has assured
her that while today,
there is no cure for 
metastatic breast cancer,
it can be treated as a
chronic condition.



I've been really thinking
about how I want to
spend my time,

she confided to me.

Less to-do lists.....




She's planning to write
letters to her two 
young teenagers.

Just in case.

To be opened on your
wedding day.....

To be opened when you
become a parent....




When did you first
become aware of 
your own mortality?

My mom says that hers
came into focus when 
she was eight years old,
riding her bicycle.  Wind in
her hair, racing along,
she glanced at the gutter
and spotted a dead bird.



It's unusual to see these
tiny creatures still 
and silent.

Something clicked 
and she realized,

I won't be here forever.
My time on Earth is finite.




These days, as I lay in bed each
night, thinking about how
I'm going to spend my time
the next day, I am keenly
aware of the fact that we are 
doing exactly that ~ 
spending our time.

It's not a 
limitless 
account.



And I am oh so cognizant
of the fact that I don't want
to just spend it, but instead,

invest it.

Invest it in doing things
that make my heart sing,
that lift the spirits of others,
that show those who I love
that they mean so much to 
me, and that make a 
difference 
in this world.



Yes, work still must be done,
groceries purchased, dogs
fed, floors washed, 
leaves raked.

Life's time for doing.

But.



That other time; our
free time, is a gift to be
spent wisely, richly and
passionately....

until the day the balance
has been completely 
drawn down.



This golden autumn day,
I'm investing in an extra-
long walk with my pup,
Gracie, grateful for these
amazing colors and the
time I have been given
on this equally 
amazing planet.

Life is only precious
because it ends, kid.
~ Rick Riordan,
The Son of Neptune

How are you investing
your gift of time?


xo
Suzanne

39 comments:

Farmgirl Paints said...

Well I was going to go back to bed...on this rainy chilly morning. Kind of rethinking that;) Love your giant thoughtful heart. Enjoy that glorious walk...wish I was there with you.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I squander too much time…..but you make me so glad for a few moments on the computer, when I read beautiful posts like this that inspire me to carpe diem.
Did I tell you today how much I adore you??

Sylvia said...

THANK YOU dear Suzanne!
I feel privileged and honored to read your writing.
My prayers are with Kathleen!

Shelly W. said...

This post is such a blessing to me. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Suzanne.

Leslie said...

Oh Suzanne.. I'm all teared up. I imagine having a friend like this one is a bit of a wake up call. As my dad is entering the final stages of dementia, my kids are finishing college, my husband and I are wondering what's next. It's a time of reflection and a time to set priorities. I've learned that health and family are what we need to prioritize. Life can change in a second and it does end at some point (love that last quote)

Sending light to your friend.. and you :)

leslie

Cass @ That Old House said...

Hi Suzanne -- Wow.
I needed this post this morning-- you never know who or how your posts will touch someone.

My blessing and prayers for your friend Kathleen. I am awaiting pathology reports on a malignant melanoma; hope to get them today. On the other hand, I keep thinking "ignorance is bliss."

This experience has me thinking more about how I spend -- or waste -- my time. Finite is not something we often think about.
Thanks
Cass

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Hello, friend. How is it that your thoughtful and insightful posts always find me when I need them most? I am SO cognizant of time passing, sometimes maybe too much. I have lost quite a lot of people in my life, starting with when I was 4 years old. You tend to carry that with you. But perhaps instead of fearing time's passing,today I can embrace it by making the absolute most of it. Thank you, Suzanne, for continually reminding me what matters.

Jemsmom said...

Your post always speak to me. I realized 15 years ago when my mother passed away that there is never enough time. I have so many questions for her now that I never even thought about as a 25 year old. I have been thinking a lot about her lately (more than normal!) and just wondering what she thinks of me, my life, and my Jemma. I know she would be over the moon. I try to live each day to the fullest even though I know I squander my time at times. Oh well... life is too short to worry about it. I just try to love my family and I think that is pretty darn good!

Low Tide High Style said...

Across all the miles you always manage to voice what I've been thinking about for weeks! I just had this discussion with my husband yesterday, about how I want to spend my time, and really identifying those things which are so important and not worth letting slip away. I hope you had a wonderful long walk! xo

Kat

Jill said...

What a nice reminder for this sleepy Tuesday morning.
Thank you, once again
xo~Jill

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning dear friend and neighbor! OK, this is a topic that is always on my mind. Not in a morbid way, but I believe in a realistic way. It keeps your planning real, it helps you realize that what you do DOES matter, and that the time you have been accorded is valuable.

I extend my wishes to Kathleen to live each day as bright as can be, but I know she already does. Just knowing however, that we are embraced by another in thought and prayer makes this journey feel more as if we are on it together, which we are. Oh Suzanne, this a beautifully written account of each of our lives. Billy Collins has a great poem that I just read today:MY NUMBER. He is another fabulous poet with a humorous side and his company is welcomed on a beautiful autumn day such as today, in our own backyard. Being cognizant as you say IS the step forward to making our journey a good investment in our future for eternity!

Thank you for visiting today! AND YES, I AM WORKING THAT CANON!!!!!! Finally, huh?

LOVE! Anita

pretty pink tulips said...

Hi Suzanne!!

Without fail, every time I read one of your posts, I end up with a knot in my throat and a tear in my eye. In the best type of way.

So many thoughts on this post...I'm going to ramble a bit.

Spending our time vs Investing our time. What an apt description. I have been aware lately at what a sweet place I am in with my children. Old enough to join in and young enough to want me near. I am trying hard to put them and their needs and their energy first right now and one of the costs has been less time blogging/visiting favorite blogs. I'm trying hard not to chide myself b/c I do realize which is more important, but it is hard to do it all. Well.

The quote by Rick Riordan....one of my 10 year old's favorite authors! :)

Kathleen....I truly keep her in my thoughts. She has already fought one battle and to have it reappear is just not fair. My mother-in-law is undergoing chemo right now and I have been thinking about what I can do to support her ( she lives in Kansas). She's already had 7 weeks of radiation...and though her prognosis is good, it is still such an invasion of her body, energy and time. It puts my "every day" stresses into perspective.

Thank you for always zeroing in on the things that matter above all.

I will keep this post in the back of my mind as I determine where to spend my time. Or rather, invest it!
xoxo Elizabeth

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Lately, I have been losing my normal perspective on time as a gift. This is a wonderful reminder. Thanks, Suzanne, for using your time and your beautiful way with words, to bless me (and others.)

ps. Praying for your friend.

Blondie's Journal said...

Your post summed up my thoughts and feelings for the past few weeks so well...I felt a chill up my spine. It seems I am always clearing my palette for some free time rather than just enjoying every minute in all that I do. There may become a time when I am too frail to make a bed, too weak to wash and fold laundry, too tired to make a meal. Whether it's age or illness, we all face certain limitations as we grow older. I want to stop complaining about my lack of time and start enjoying each day as if it were the last.

I am thinking of your friend and praying that she goes back into remission. Thanks so much for sharing, I know your readers will be praying for her.

XO,
Jane

Barbara from MA said...

What a wonderful reminder! THANKS!!

Olive Cooper said...

Dear Suzanne, my heart aches for you and your friend in light of the return of her cancer. I shall pray for her but you are right we are all mortal and never know what will happen and when. I became aware of the extreme fragility of life when I took a young twenty something year old patient to the morgue when I was a young twenty year old. The shock to me that young people die was in my face but it held fast. I have witnessed more than my share of death and dying and thus embrace every day with gratitude and thankfulness. love, olive

paige said...

oh friend i am so sorry to hear about kathleen....so sorry.
writing letters, just in case....

praying hers is a chronic case that is treated effectively.
i know your friendship is a blessing

beautiful post my friend
xox

Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne, I love this post. Love your photos. I'm sorry about your friend. I've been running on empty myself for too long now. I thought I was the only one to schedule "phone dates."
Thanks for causing me to pause and think. xo, Cheryl

Hindsfeet said...

Thanks for this reminder, Suzanne.....I needed this tonight

michele said...

i think living fully means something different to everyone. when i'm doing it right, it means spreading love and smiles no matter where i find myself. i need to do better. it means 'say what you need to say' right now. it means staying focused on others and getting over myself and my fears. and as i write these words i am reminded that it has precious little to do with being well read, well traveled, well bred, well fed, etc. man, that trips me up all teh time. it's more about the feeding. the lightening of someone else's load. the learning about His heart.

thanks for this, you lovely lovely soul.

michele

Marie said...

I became ever cognizant of the fact my time here was limited last year when I had my own brush with cancer. Somehow knowing time is limited makes it all the more precious, a lesson many of us don't learn until it's too late. I vowed then not to waste any more of my time. Thankfully I did not have cancer and I have not forgotten the very important lesson that brush with it taught me. Another beautiful post as always. xxoo

A Perfect Gray said...

oh boy. how I NEEDED that. thanks so much, friend. donna

Biz said...

Suzanne Suzanne Suzanne,
Your bringing tears to my eyes with the honesty and beauty that is your writing.
I think the idea of enjoying our free time is what motivates me to work so hard on the things that eat away at free time.
Unpacking my home in a week so that I can be settled and able to enjoy it.
Using my baby girls naps times to clean and prep meals so that when she is awake I can be there to play with her.
I am in no means perfect, but I know that time is valuable and much shorter than any of us would like to admit.
Thank you for making me stop again this morning and just reflect.
As always I love your words....and you!

Biz

Sue said...

Beautiful post Suzanne.
and timely too ~

Tricia said...

What a beautiful message. I can't recall a particular moment when I first realized my own mortality, but the thought is always there, ever present in my mind, guiding my in the many choices that I make throughout the day.

Your photos look wonderful! You've captured the season so beautifully. Prayers for your friend. xo

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Oh Suzanne, you so touched me with this post! Even though we had discussed this subject...when you put your thoughts to words, it is just what I need to hear. Spending my time...I don't think that phrase ever struck home with me before. You have a beautiful gift, my friend! XO

Mary Timmers said...

I'm sorry about your friend, Suzanne. The word cancer strikes fear, for those who've had it and those who haven't You are such a good friend to her. We all can learn DAILY to be more wise about our investment of time since none of us knows the length of our own. To be intentional about that investment, even in the seemingly mundane parts of life, will make us see things differently, and LOOK FOR the best investment!

Keep walking that dog and enjoying the beauty around you!

Love,
Mary

Katherine said...

What a stirring post. Thank you for the reminder.

Deborah said...

Very wise words and thoughtful too.
My thoughts are on this more than often, and making each moment count knowing that what we do and say can and does impact so many lives in the here and now and right through into eternity.
I loved this very thoughtful post Suzanne.
Thinking of you and your dear friend Kathleen and lifting her up in prayer.
Hugs my sweet, sweet friend

Deborah xoxoxo

lisaroyhandbags said...

Lovely reminder, Suzanne. I think my husband and I both realized it when his father passed away of a heart attack at 57 and never got to enjoy the retirement he was always talking about.
Although I may have time to while away, I'm constantly wishing that my husband had it as well ~ being an expat means less time for yourself, endless stress, LONG work days, no friends and family to enjoy... as much as it may be an adventure, the novelty runs out very quickly and you are left pondering when things will slow down and if/when you'll be able to spend quality time with family and each other before time runs out. xo

Kathleen said...

Wow, Suzanne! You ALWAYS know just the right words to write. I've been having a pretty tough week, and reading your words of encouragement are helping me to try to crawl out of my fear and sadness. Thank you to all of your friends who are keeping me in prayer. I've never need prayers like I do know. I can't stop crying today. I've been blessed with all sorts of encouragement that overwhelms me. People are so good. While I have the wonderful, deep support of old friends, I also have been blessed to have people I don't even know praying for me. I'm one blessed gal!

I also have to comment on your previous post about the teddy bears. My tears were cascading when I got to the photos of those precious children clutching their maybe-only teddy bear. How kind your are to find this opportunity to share this ministry and give others a chance to participate too.

Lastly, your photography always, always blows me away. Your pictures are breathtaking in some many ways and I'm always trying to figure out how you capture the perfect shot. Thank you for including them in your posts along with such beautiful music. Altogether, everything is lovely.

Love you so much, Suzanne XOXO

Stitchfork said...

Thoughts and prayers for Kathleen. A very touching, and thought provoking post Suzanne. You made me laugh, and cry.
xo
Cathy

susan@avintagefarmwife said...

What a beautiful, thought-provoking post. This is the exact reason that I jumped at the chance to refocus my life a year ago. I want it to matter. Thanks.

Julie said...

(((heart))) ((((hug))) :-)

Jane said...

Such a charming, evocative post, Suzanne. As always. I, too, am cognisant of what you mean. I want to live my life by the breadth, not just by the length. J x

Jeanie said...

Suzanne, this is so beautifully stated. I have long been aware of my own mortality and of that of those close to me. Rick's bike crashes really have brought that home. And yes, right now it seems so much more weighty. You are so wise to understand this.

I continue to send prayers for Kathleen. One of my dearest friends dealt with this disease a long while. Losing a friend is nearly unbearable. I hope it is a very long while before you have to experience that.

pollydove said...

my eyes are welling up with tears ... I sooooo needed to read these beautiful thoughts this morning. thank you for your wisdom and insight, and gift of writing - and for sharing that with us! xoxo

Lili said...

You always have the most sincere way of getting right to the heart of the matter on what is truly important in life. I thank you for the reminder and am holding your dear friend Kathleen in my prayers as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about our precious time on this planet. xo ~Lili

thistlewoodfarm said...

Just want you to know how much I adore your blog.

Truly.

Your voice and your heart shine out clear as a bell in a world full of chatter.

Happy day to you.
karianne