In each of the last two posts I’ve written here, I’ve made mention of both using this time of year as a good excuse to show your appreciation to the important people in your life, and also offering friendship and support to them during troubled times.
I had another, related, thought today. The most important gift you can give to anyone is your time. Think about it, how many people do you know who go out of their way to make time for you? I’m betting it’s not many, and I’m also betting than when you do make time for someone, there are no words that can more clearly express that they are important to you. I can proclaim how important someone’s friendship is to me all day long, but if I’m unwilling to make time to spend with that person, take time to think about that person, if I am unable to act in a way consistent with my words, then they are just that, words. The people who are most important to you are the people you spend time with, no matter how that time is spent.
This past Thanksgiving Day, I had a somewhat unique opportunity. My wife had passed along some information about a gathering at OSU’s campus, where they would be serving a traditional meal to about 1200 international students and faculty, and their families. Since we had already decided our plans for the holiday would be separate, she out of town with her family, and I in town with mine, she wouldn’t be able to volunteer with me. Being a somewhat socially awkward person, I wasn’t really interested in volunteering by myself, but we also knew that a good friend of ours would also be in town, and had been looking for various ways to get out and volunteer. Angela also knew she felt similar to me, and wouldn’t want to do this by herself, so she contacted her and this worked out well for both of us.
By her willingness to spend a couple of hours working this event with me, I was able to do something good, and enjoy myself quite a bit in the process, and vice versa. Because of both of our willingness to do this together, along with the 120 other people who spent part of their Thanksgiving Day giving of their time as well, 1200 people of various cultural and religious backgrounds, sat and had a meal together. None of it took any special talent or skill. Literally, I spent most of the time spooning out corn to people as they came by, not all that difficult, but someone needed to do it! 🙂
All it took was the willingness to spend the time listening to our friend when she mentioned wanting to volunteer, being aware of opportunities for her to do that, and then spending the time doing it together. I can’t imagine a better way to show appreciation than that.
I also can’t imagine a better way to show appreciation than the way my wife did, by being the person who facilitated this to begin with. She was willing to look at this event and think past her own plans to find other people who would be available and would want to do it. That’s appreciation for me, our friend, and the folks she knows who were coordinating the event! She was able to show us that, simply by sending a few emails and getting people in touch with each other!