A recent quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog caught my attention this morning – “There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more.” (Mitch Albom)
Jack went on to write that the Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle” is a favorite of his. I suppose that we all wish there were moments that we could capture and put in a bottle, to be enjoyed again and again as we wish. Maybe the bottle is our mind, and those moments are stored there as memories.
What Mitch Albom was alluding to is not wasting or hoarding our time here on earth by assuming that we’ll always have more time to do the things that we are putting off sharing with others. The “I’ll see them tomorrow” mentality was put to a big test over the last year when too many people realized too late that there would be no tomorrow. Now instead of memories of that last visit with someone who has passed, they have only regrets that it never took place.
Even if we have nothing else, we all have time that we can give to others. In some cases, it may be time in service to them, but in many cases it is just sharing time, acknowledging them and engaging with them. As humans, we may have fond memories of event that occurred when we were alone, but our strongest and fondest memories always involve time and events that we shared with others. Search back through your memories and see if that isn’t true.
So time that you hoard to yourself actually ends up being blank spots in your memories, sort of like those times when on TV some commercial message is missed and the screen is just blank for s few seconds – no picture, no sound, no nothing, just a blank screen. Did you ever notice how long that seems to last to you?
It’s not that we all don’t need some breaks, some time to ourselves; but that is what sleep is for. Spending time by yourself while awake is just lost or wasted time when you could be interacting with others. Now, there are forms of interaction that may not involve spending face-to-face time with another person. Reading is one such form of interaction. Whether you realize it or not, you are interacting with the author while reading. You are trying to figure out what it is that they were saying when they wrote that story or article. You may carry out a complete mental dialogue with them in your mind while reading what they wrote. The same may be true when viewing a work of art – what were they thinking when they did this piece?
So, never assume that there will always be a tomorrow. Don’t be selfish with your time. Make the best that you can of today. Interact with as many people as you can, get to know as many people as you can, help as many people as you can. Give of yourself by sharing your time and you will receive some of their time back. Now that’s a good use of your time. God will be happy with you. Maybe He will give you more time to spend tomorrow. Don’t be selfish with it.
I agree with this post with one exception. Time spent alone, reflecting, can lead to a more mindful decisions of how we spend life’s precious time.