Spelling of Love
Before I finally decided to put my thoughts into words this week, I was divided between writing this article and three others that were bubbling inside of me. Not sure why but this one won the day and so I hope there’s someone out there who will really benefit and be inspired by the words they are about to read.
A few weeks ago, I overheard someone saying to someone else that after a very long time in their life, they felt like life finally did have a meaning, that they now had a reason to wake up in the morning and they felt like they had a reason to be alive. Of course those words caught me by surprise and even though I wasn’t supposed to be listening to that conversation, I found myself wondering what could have happened to this person who looked like everything was going on so well for them. Well, it seems like the person they were telling the story to was also wondering the same thing I was wondering and so the question that was asked was, “What changed? What happened that made you feel different?” I’m not sure whether the response that came was anything that was expected by any of us (I say “us” loosely because I wasn’t meant to be listening to this conversation).
The reason why this person had gotten a new lifeline is because finally, there was someone in their life who had given them something no one else had ever done. A gift so precious that not even money can buy. The gift of TIME.
Time? But how would time make a difference in someone’s life? After all, isn’t this the only thing that we all have an equal measure of? Regardless of how rich or poor you are, we all have 24 hours a day. If that is the case, why would someone consider time a gift?
Now that I’ve had time to evaluate that scenario a few times over, I think I understand what this person meant when they said they’d been given the gift of time. In short, it meant that someone took time off from their busy schedule to give this person a listening ear, a non-judgmental ear, an opportunity to be heard without being judged. It means that this person was given a gift that can never be bought with money or any other form of currency. To quote one of my spiritual mentors, Rick Warren, “time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”
If you have ever been in a relationship, you will agree with me that for any relationship to work you must invest in it. If you consider your relationship to be important, then you must prove it by investing in it the most precious gift; the gift of time. Telling someone that you love them but you do not show it through your actions and through your time, then those are very empty words. True and genuine love should not be just words and talk; true love shows itself in action, and for actions to happen there must be time.
That is why LOVE is spelt "T-I-M-E.”
Many people have hungered so much for true love but in the end, they have had to give up because it seems never forthcoming. Everyone seems to be so busy with their own life that taking time to listen to someone else or to offer someone else comfort is seen to be a waste of time.
The person I have described above reminds me of a story I once read about a lady who was about to commit suicide. What saved her life is TIME (read Love). You may have read this story before but for the sake of those who haven’t, please allow me to share this story:
Every Sunday after the morning service, a pastor and his 11-years old son would go around the town to hand out evangelic pamphlets to the residents. It was their known routine. One Sunday afternoon, the sky was dark and it was raining outside. The child seeming not to notice any of that called out to his father, “Dad, It’s time to go hand out the pamphlets, let’s go!” His father replied, “I would not go out in a weather like this, it’s pouring down heavily outside.”
“But Dad! Does it mean that because it is raining people will not go to hell?” His son asked bluntly. The Dad stuck to his words and said, “Son, I’m not going out when it’s cold like this.” The boy looked sad and asked, “In that case Dad, would you please let me go out and hand out the pamphlets by myself?” His father hesitated for a bit and said, “Here you go son, take care!”
The boy walked around the town and went door to door to give the pamphlets. He walked for two hours in the rain. He was soaking wet but there was this one pamphlet left. He looked around the street but no one was there, the street was deserted. He went to the first house he saw and rang the bell, but no one answered. He rang the bell again, but again no one came out. He waited a bit but there is no one there. He turned his back and was going to leave the house, but something stopped him. He turned back to the door and rang the bell. This time he knocked the front door even louder. Something was keeping him on that porch. He rang again and the door opened. He saw an old lady come out with a very sad look on her face.
She asked, “What can I do for you son?” She saw a boy with radiant smile that lit up her world. “So..sorry Ma’am if I’m disturbing you, but I just want to say that Jesus loves you very much and I’m here to give you our last pamphlet which will tell you about Jesus and his love.” The smiling boy turned his back to leave. The old lady said, “Thank you son, may God bless you.”
The next Sunday, his father, the pastor asked the congregation, “Does anyone have something to share this morning?”
An elderly lady stood up and began to speak with a magnificent smile transcending her face. “Nobody knows me in this church, I’ve never been here before. Last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed away a while back leaving me completely alone. Last Sunday, in a cold and rainy day, I decided to end my life. So I took a chair and rope to the attic. I started to tie the rope and I stood up on the chair feeling so lonely and broken hearted. I was so ready to jump off the chair but the doorbell rang and startled me. I thought that the bell would stop ringing and whoever it is will eventually go away, but the sound of the bell became louder and louder. Then, someone started to knock on the front door very loudly. I thought to myself, it has been a long time since anyone came to see me, so who could that be? So I loosened the rope and went to the door.
As I opened the door, I saw a boy with the most radiant and angelic smile I’ve ever seen in my life. I could never describe how he spoke to me and brought my heart back to life. He said to me that Jesus loves me very much. I closed the door and read every word on this pamphlet. I took my chair and the rope from my attic as I won’t be needing them anymore, I am now the daughter of the King of Glory. I personally came to thank that little angel who came at the right time to save me from spending my life eternally in hell.” The elderly lady ended her speech as the congregation praised the Lord and applauded very loudly.
The pastor came down from the stage and sobbed as he held up his son. No church has ever had such a touching moment.
Now that you’ve wiped off the tears in your eyes and can see clearly again, here’s my question to you; what gift did this boy give to this woman? Is it the pamphlet? Or is it the message of hope that the pamphlet held? In my view, it was the gift of action, the gift of time, which translates to the gift of love.
Friends, we do not need to be religious to give the gift of time to others. We do not need to have pamphlets to show love to others. All we need is the desire to offer a little bit of our 24 hours to others and if we did this, we would bring about lots of change to the hearts of many.
This being a new month, can you purpose to show a little more love to those around you by spending more time with them? Can you purpose to spend share your most valuable time with someone who probably needs you more than you ever thought they did?
Let this 10th month of the year be the month of Love. Don’t wait until 14th of February to show love. You can do it now. Remember, LOVE is spelt "T-I-M-E.”
Wishing you all Love today and always.
PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 4th October, 2015, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".