Listening to the radio this past week, I heard the spokesman conclude his interview with his guest, “thank you for your time.” My first reaction was that his words were a news person’s formulaic closure. And then a much deeper interpretation took over.  What else do we have to offer each other than our time? And, building on that thought, what are the signature qualities of the time we offer?

I vividly recall an episode in New York City in my teen years. The setting may have been Times Square or Grand Central Station.  I don’t remember.  What I do recall is seeing a huge digital time display calibrated to tenths of a second which greatly amplified and dramatized the speed of life’s passing. Decades later to the yawns of our progeny’s generation, I join my senior cohort with the frequent lament, where did the time go?     

That said, the invitation remains for each of us to shape our time ahead, whatever our age or circumstances. We need not be deterred, thinking that our gifts are only worthy if they are world-changing. For most of us the gifts of our time and attention may help a few others change their worlds. Acts of kindness, holding space, listening, offering open-ended questions and affirming are blessings of daily discourse we can offer those in our circles of care. 

In his book from 1946, Yes to Life in Spite of Everything, Viktor Frankl reminds us that each of us can show up in the moment with an attitude that makes a difference.

What we “radiate” into the world, the “waves” that emanate from our being, that is what will remain of us when our being itself has long passed away. (p. 45)