The Gift of Time


(Credit: Pixabay, user nile)

Bezawit O'Neill '23, Features Editor

     A friend of mine, who believes it’s her calling to send inspirational quotes to her friends, never fails to find something great to share with everyone. Two days ago, she sent me this quote which stuck out to me for a long time: “Time is what we want most but what we use worst.”

When I first received it, I commented as usual on the truthfulness of the quote and moved on with my day. However, it wasn’t until I was on a walk with my mum that I began to reflect on my friend’s quote.

It was a Friday afternoon, normally the busiest day in the week, yet there were only a few cars on the road. The hundreds of cars I used to see as I walked around the pond were replaced with families strolling, athletes jogging, children cycling, and dogs playing about. The pond burst with life. People sat on the grass having a picnic, stretched by the bars, or played with their children. Outside some homes, I saw people sitting in their gardens and children skipping rope. Even on my street, all of us children were outside playing soccer, tennis, or tag on our bikes. Our parents were outside talking with one another – of course while keeping six feet apart – and some worked in their gardens. The change of lifestyle that these past few weeks have brought is shocking.

   I’m sure most of us have at some point in our life have said: “I don’t have time for this.” Maybe you’ve asked a parent to take you somewhere, and they’ve replied: “Sorry, I don’t have time.” Maybe you’ve asked a sibling to play with you only to be told they don’t have time, or maybe someone has asked you to do something and you’ve replied: “I don’t have time.” Whichever the case, many of us are driven people who like to fill our day with activities that keep us busy all the time. Take my cousin for example. She wakes up, goes to school, comes home at 3:00, does her homework, eats dinner, then she’s off to do Irish dancing from five to seven, then off to another dancing class from seven to nine. Her weekends are not better, either, because most of it is spent playing rugby or dancing.

   We are used to our busy life that, even though we often complain about never having time to do what we love, we are too comfortable to make changes. This past year, I’ve given up piano and guitar only because I’ve told myself I don’t have time. I don’t have time to practice, and I don’t have time to go to my lessons. Since I’ve managed to keep myself busy, I didn’t have time to miss it.

   Suddenly, however, in times of great uncertainty, we find we have been given a gift, we have been given the gift of time. I think God has been up there listening to all of us complain about our busy lives and how we never have time, so he gave us time to reconnect with our families; he is giving us time to go outside and enjoy nature while we can, time to look after ourselves, time to step away from our routine and try something new, time to do the things we love. People are still working from home, but now they have extra time that they didn’t have before to spend as they please. My cousin still dances at home, but now she has time to go out on a walk with her family and to sit down, enjoy dinner and watch a family movie. Similarly, I found out how much I’ve missed playing the piano as I played a song for the first time in months.

   I think there is something to be learned from this experience for all of us. It’s easy to lament on missed opportunities because, like the quote stated, “time is what we want most but what we use worst.” These past few weeks in quarantine were probably very hard for those who are used to having days packed with activities. However, let us not look at it as a lonely time to mindlessly waste. Let us use this opportunity to discover ourselves and develop a closer relationship with our families. Let’s challenge ourselves to learn something new and do something just for pure pleasure. I believe after all this, people will remain closer to one another and will truly appreciate the gift of others around them. Hopefully, after everything is back to normal, we will not forget the lessons we’ve learned, but instead take them with us. Quarantine has given us time; let’s use it wisely. 

Beza O’Neill ’23, Features Editor