What is your most valuable resource?
Some answers might vary to scarce resources like coal or oil or natural gas, some might say money, some might say people. I say time.
You cannot go back. You cannot go forward. Once it is gone, it’s gone. I think time is the most valuable thing people can spend. I think so many people use time as a crutch instead of a tool. If you use your time with resentment or envy, you’ll be disappointed. But if you cherish it and spend it in a positive light, I really do think you will live a fuller life. I compare my freshman year of college versus my senior year of college.
Freshman year I had all the time in the world. How did I spend it? Going out late, catching up on sleep the next day, watching movies, mindlessly playing on my phone. Now here I am a senior wondering if I had more hours in the day as a freshman. Yes this is due to the fact that I got more involved, but I just cherish my time so much more now. I think the past few years have shed light on how valuable of a resource time really is.
UGA Relay For Life has been a major factor in this. My friend found out her dad had stage 4 cancer a while back.
He died just recently.
I cannot wrap my mind around that because it is so hard to imagine. You hear horror stories of it all the time, but it is not until it personally effects you that you begin to take notice. I think it is so sad that it takes something like this for people to realize how important our cause is and why we do what we do.
That is the thing about time. You cannot borrow time. You cannot gain any more time. It expires everyday. What you do in that span is so important because it is a day you will never get back.
Coach Joni Taylor, the head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Georgia, came to speak at an exec meeting and I will never forget what she said. She stated, “if you are still thinking about what you did yesterday then you have not done enough today.”
That really struck me. I used to make to do lists with things I wanted to accomplish and I would just say “If I can just make it through today, I’ll be good. Tomorrow I can rest and relax.” And while I do think it is important to take a break from this stressful time of life, I think it is important to keep moving forward and to keep pushing yourself. I hate when people say “I don’t have time.” There is a difference between not having time and not making time.
If there is one thing I learned throughout my three and a half years at Georgia so far, it is to make the time. If you commit to something, make sure you make the time. If someone asks for help, make the time.
Don’t cancel plans. Don’t flake. Spend time with friends and family. Spend time with teachers. Spend time with classmates. Support your friends’ causes and efforts. I’ve learned that just making the effort and making the time goes a long way. I think making people realize how valuable a resource time is is tricky because it is not necessarily tangible. You can’t do anything with it but spend it. You just have to choose what you spend it on.
In my last few months here in Athens, I devote myself to not wasting a minute of my time when it could be spent towards something much more meaningful.
The very idea may seem ridiculous, even offensive to some people. However, prophets can be cited as examples of powerful spiritual personalities who have held a temporary resentment toward GOD for the judgments HE brought down because of the sins and evils committed by HIS chosen people. The punishments often seemed worse than the crime, in their eyes. Truly, forgiving GOD is never necessary, and yet…I have occasionally held some residue, deep inside, a secret resentment, even disappointment toward GOD for the situations I found myself in throughout my life.
For example, I was so angry when I lost my Soror, lawyer to be, sister friend to AIDS. How could GOD not rescue her or prevent evil from happening to her? I was angry with GOD because in 1989 he allowed me to bare witness to a stranger’s suicide. I stood as he jumped from the bridge to his death because brain cancer destroyed his beautiful forensic mind.
I tried to stop him but couldn’t and held myself personally responsible for my inability to physically stop the jumper. I was angry with GOD for years because I thought I’ve been dealt a bad hand. I thought it unfair that I was childless and unmarried. I am after all a good daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend, neighbor, and Godmother. I have no vices to speak of. I am not unlike those who live the fairytale and find happily ever after. I am no menace to society. I have played by the rules of a civilized society. I am educated because the principle goal of education is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done, people who are creative, inventive discoverers.
So why has GOD denied me? I was angry with GOD because why would HE allow me to meet and grow to love the wrong person for all the right reasons yet again. How could HE allow me to unwittingly discover the man who is undoubtedly my music from another room and not allow me to dance with him forever?
I resented GOD because HE not only took my Mother too soon but HE took her before I could apologize to her. Four years ago when I lost my Mother to lupus we were distant. Let me quantify that, being distant for us meant we spoke once a day instead of three to four times a day. My Mother & I were very close my entire life but there was distance at her time of death because the four months leading up to her death I got engaged to someone that she thought was no good for me.
We argued that October 2011 and never spoke of it. Like it never happened. I still called. We talked for three hours the night before she died but I didn’t go home as often because I was mad. Not apologizing or making amends left me with tremendous guilt when she died, it’s my worst regret, my greatest shame. I blamed myself and I was angry with GOD for robbing me of the chance to fix it.
I bet we are absolutely pissed off with God far more than we would like to admit.
While it may seem irrational and illogical to blame GOD for choosing the wrong partner, accepting an unfulfilling career, or living financially beyond your means, many of us do just that. We blame GOD. I held GOD responsible for my Mother’s death, my Soror’s suffering, my poor choices, my stubbornness, my hardspots, and my singleness. Who am I to forgive GOD for not preventing all the horrible things that have happened to me and to the world?
I’m human. But in my humanness I’ve discovered that my deeper healing will only come when I admit to myself that I am angry and accept that it’s okay to be the same. Only then can I truly appreciate that GOD allowed me to witness the stranger’s suicide so I could appreciate life and know permanent solutions are not the answer to temporary problems. HE took my Soror and Mother because he needed them more and recognized the lessons I learned in the wake of their deaths were necessary for my continued growth.
Everything I held a grudge against GOD for was just not and is not in HIS plan for me. I suspect GOD brings people to my life so that I can stand in the gap for them. When GOD has us unwittingly intercede for one another, our chief purpose is to fill in those gaps in one another’s spiritual armor and hold up that person so the enemy can’t gain an advantage over them.
Likewise, when we fail to intercede for one another, we’re virtually giving the key to that person’s spiritual house to his/her enemies for them to wreak havoc, to steal that person’s peace or joy. Just as we wouldn’t build a brick wall and intentionally leave gaping holes in the cement joints, I would go so far as to say it is malicious for me to not “go between”/ “stand in the gap” for my brother, my sister.
Jesus said, “By this all shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love toward one another.” [John 13:35] How can I say I love anyone and not pray for them? It’s impossible! It’s a contradiction and a lie! “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16]
Perhaps GOD disappoints me to incite empathy, it pushes me to feel the pain of others in my heart. HE makes me angry, calling me to stand. So I’m standing in the gap. It’s not easy, it’s frustrating, it’s even painful but I’m standing in the gap for others because it is on the side of righteousness and it is how I forgive myself and atone for questioning GOD.
Many will find my willingness to acknowledge my anger and disappointment with GOD blasphemous. Holding something against GOD, Kimberly? Really? I say to you GOD already knows my heart. What is it exactly that you think GOD doesn’t already know about you?
Since my Mother’s death there have been days where I literally questioned my ability to go on, i.e. get dressed, face the world, and even interact with people. Then I am reminded of her humor, her spirit and the presence of GOD. What occurs most often is that I go downstairs to find the light or ceiling fan on in my den.
Surely any electrician will say there’s a wiring issue or the remote control for the ceiling fan needs tweaking but I believe it is the presence of my Mother and therefore GOD. This morning at four o’clock GOD and my Mommy showed up again, offering their blessing for my desire to tell this tale. So with that confirmation I am reminded that what matters supremely is not the fact that I know GOD, but the larger fact which underlies it, is that HE knows me and is present.
All my knowledge of HIM depends on HIM and his never yielding interest in knowing me. I know HIM because HE first knew me, and continues to know me. HE knows me as HIS inquisitive child who constantly asks why and why not, who is stubborn, loving, kind, generous, proud, and who is also angered by what allows her to stumble and what manifests as suffering to others in the world. HE knows me as HIS and HE knows I forgive HIM and trust Him without hesitation, or reservation; because I choose to die empty for HIM, again and again.
My grandmother was there the day I was born.
She kept me multiple days of the week before I began school and many afternoons once I had started. She taught me stories, rhymes, songs, and lessons.
I have nothing but precious memories from my childhood visits at my grandmother’s house, and because she lived alone, I know she cherished my company as well. Part of who I am today is because of her.
However, as much as I hate to admit it, things changed as I grew older. As I entered my teens, I began to dread the boredom that I associated with my grandmother’s basic cable, internet-free house.
Although she lived next door to me, I began visiting less and less, and once I had my drivers license, I had stopped going almost altogether. I only made the trip next door on holidays or when my mother made me. I had no idea at the time what a mistake I was making.
It began with her short-term memory, and you had to retell her things multiple times. However, she could still tell you in perfect detail stories of her childhood. She soon began to forget names, and her doctors explained that she was suffering from dementia.
We knew it would get worse, we just had no idea how fast. Within a couple months, she began telling elaborate stories of conversations she had had that day with deceased relatives, talking to voices in her head, hiding from people she believed to be in her house trying to hurt her, and her “trips to heaven” she had made that day in order to talk to her sister.
She once called 9-1-1 on my father at two in the morning for beating me and mom, when my dad was out of state at the time (and he’s never harmed a hair on our heads). The most hurtful moment to my family, however, was the night she did not know who her own daughter, my mother, was. The child she raised and who now had taken care of her every day for years was only a stranger standing in her bedroom.
I began to visit her more often, but I felt extremely guilty for how I dreaded seeing her and the state she was in. Seeing my grandmother, who used to be so strong and independent, now unable to walk and not in her right mind broke my heart.
So, I did another horrible thing that I would regret: I avoided the visits so I would not have to experience the sadness and hurt.
My family, as well as myself, soon realized that we were dealing with my grandmother’s dementia and our pain in a completely wrong way. I now understood that I needed to face my grandmother and cherish the time I had left with her instead of living with the fear of what I might witness.
So, I began to accompany my mother on visits more often. The way we interacted with her changed, as well.
Before, we fought her and the stories she came up with in her head. We told her she was wrong, and that the people she saw and voices she heard were only in her mind. We tried to force the fact that the stories she invented were not true.
It hurt her to think that we did not believe what she said and that we thought she was crazy, and she was beginning to resent us for it. And the times she started to accept that we might be right and what she believes is false, it only filled her with fear.
She did not deserve an emotional roller coaster such as this in her last few years.
So, my family decided to deal with the situation in a lighter way. Instead of disagreeing and fighting with my grandmother, we acted as if her stories were true, laughed about them with her, and asked her for more details.
If she said that she had been running around town with her father all day, we ignored the facts that she couldn’t leave her bed and that he had passed away decades ago, and instead asked them where all they’d been and if they had a good time.
Although it was bittersweet, seeing my grandmother not so frustrated made everything easier to deal with both for us and her.
That next fall, I left for college and only saw my grandmother every few months when I visited home. One night, while sitting in my dorm, I received the call from my mother that I had been dreading but expecting for the past few months.
It was in that moment that my past regrets overwhelmed me. Every day that I dreaded going to see her. Every moment that I ignored her and sat playing on my phone. Every visit that I avoided for fear of what I might see.
I only had a few moments with the woman who raised my mother and helped to raise me, and I had taken them for granted. I had not been around enough when she needed love and family the most.
And now at the end of her life, I had no way to get home from college in time.
I still thank God that this was a false alarm. She lived not only until the next morning, but even though the doctors only gave her a few weeks, she is still alive today. I believe the Lord wanted to teach me a lesson in love, family, strength, and courage.
He wanted to teach me to cherish the moments I’m blessed to live, and the moments I’m given with my friends and family. And most importantly, He wanted to give me more time with my grandmother, which shows what a gracious, giving, and amazing God He is.
Soon after this incident, my family decided to place my grandmother in a nursing home. Although it was incredibly difficult to hear how much she wanted to go home, this turned out to be a wonderful decision.
Her mind still goes in and out, but the care and steady routine has greatly increased her health. While she once was too weak to lift even her hand, today she is more alert and has more energy to interact and talk with us.
Sadly, the doctors decided a few months ago to take my grandmother off her medicine for dementia. Her days are now categorized as “good days” and “bad days.”
Some days she will remember us all, while on others it is a struggle. Some she can be angry and yelling, and other times she is sweet and says she loves us.
Some days she claims she’s been running up and down the halls, and others she’ll admit she’s been laying in her bed all day.
The holidays were definitely different with her in the nursing home for the first time. There was a felt absence at our annual family get-togethers.
Still, I could not be more thankful to still have been able to visit her on Christmas Day. She was in high spirits, talkative, and it was altogether a “good day.” My mother said that her mom having a good day was all she needed for this to be a great Christmas, and I couldn’t agree more. Even if we did have to remind Granny a few times what day it was.
Every moment is cherished, both the good and the bad, with the good moments being priceless gifts from God.
Although it has made me regret my past and the time I could have spent with her and chose not to, as well as all the days I am away at college, I have come to peace with the fact that I cannot change it. Dwelling on mistakes and making myself miserable will do nothing for me, my family, or my grandmother, and I know that all I need to focus on is my time with her now and in the future.
I won’t make the same mistakes again, and I won’t take advantage of the gift of more time with her that God has given us.
I don’t mind if she doesn’t remember me now. I don’t mind listening to her stories and going along with them. Sitting in the nursing home with her and being in her presence, 100 percent, not engulfed in technology, is all it takes to make the most out of our time.
The simple act of being there for our family shows a powerful amount of love in itself, and I now realize the importance of something as simple as time.