More on Time and Gifts


After worrying about not having enough time for everything our group had planned for our agenda--and finding that the retired Methodist missionary women, who knew nothing about the time bind, had gifted me three packets of Thyme seeds (enough thyme/time, you think?)--I began wondering about gifts. 

Where do gifts come from? Can we recognize them for what they are?  Does the giver understand the power of the gift?  And do we realize what we have been given?  Especially when we are stressed, or anxious, or rushing about. 

So the same day that the North Carolina Methodist missionaries have given me three packets of thyme seeds, a colleague gives me a huge gift basket.  Realizing I can't get it home, he says he'll ship it.  I am home only 24 hours and my husband becomes very ill. (He's better now, and he'll be fine...). We call for an ambulance.  It is February 1.  The Emergency Room doctors check David into the hospital.  It is February 13th before we get back home.  I stay with him and come back to the house only now and again. 

On one of those trips to the house I find a huge box has arrived. It takes me a moment to realize that it is the gift basket from my North Carolina colleague.  I glance at it and am ready to head back to the hospital.  Haven't done laundry. No clean socks. I need clean socks. I open the gift basket and it has socks in it. They fit me. I put them on.  They are actually beautiful. Nice warm comfy brown socks.  It's a cold day.  I go back to the hospital a little astounded at the socks. 

Days later we finally get home from the hospital. I make oatmeal.  It tastes sour to David.  Do we have any honey?  Yes but I can't open the bottle and David who is our strong-handed bottle opener is too weak to open it.  So I go back to the gift basket. The gift basket has a big canning jar of wildflower honey.   It opens easily.  Both of us are a little astounded. 

He needs to drink lots of water.  A regular glass is hard for him to drink from.  A straw would make it easier. We don't have straws. Back to the gift basket where I find a big North Carolina glass with a top that screws on with its own straw.  Perfect.  That glass with its own top and straw have been front and center every moment for better than three weeks.  Gallons and gallons of water have been consumed thanks to the North Carolina glass with its own straw. 

When I stop to think about it, I'm beginning to see how much we NEEDED these gifts--without having had a clue of why we would need them when they arrived.  And the person who put that basket together, did so before the need even arose.  I'm a little astounded at this.

A card comes in the mail.   The card says "thyme to learn".  It's from one of my colleagues who also received the three packages of thyme seeds.  The card has been made by one of her team members.  It is beautiful.

So what is it time for me (or any one of us) to learn?  Here and now.  Here's what I would say it's time for me to learn:

In the hospital I learned the value of just being there. 

I also learned that while I couldn't do much I could walk a mile (14 laps around the nurses' stations) in the middle of the night.  I could stay healthy, myself.  As David said in the midst of all this: "One of us has to be healthy!"

I am learning that things take time. Healing and recovery have their own pace. 

I am learning that there is great beauty around--in the snow falling, in the geese overhead, in the caring medical people who extend care, in the neighbors who bring chicken soup, in the pleasure of unstructured time together.  

So I offer you the question given to me among these gifts: What is it thyme/time for you to learn?