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Living Our Values: Have time on your side

We often hear someone say, "I don't have time." Time is actually one of life's most precious gifts, and we all have it — we just never know how long it will last. I value my time more than money because the way in which I spend it can be far more rewarding.

It's true that for many, earning a living is a priority, and for much of our young lives, my husband, Clifford, and I worked outside the home while raising our family. We considered the time spent with each other and with our children to be even more valuable because of this.

Our daughters were skilled at managing their time and entertaining themselves, so family time was special, fun and never boring. We had little money in those days, but that's not what they remember. Clifford and I took a week's vacation when school was out for the Christmas holiday. We built snowmen (and women), made hot chocolate and played board games.

My husband played guitar quite well, and the girls and I loved to sing — not very well, but we were enthusiastic and sometimes loud. Song requests were encouraged. Friends of all ages often joined us as music and laughter filled our house.

On holidays, we gathered as a family and I knew to plan for extras. One of us always knew someone who would otherwise spend the day alone, and we wanted to share our time.

The children grew up, moved out and had busy lives of their own, but they continued to spend time with us, and we all looked forward to those moments. Clifford and I had more time to be together, and we enjoyed that privilege, whether we were traveling, gardening, painting the house or just relaxing and talking. When we retired, we began to volunteer our time to a number of local agencies as well as our church. These were fulfilling hours for us.

Through the years, I maintained old friendships and created new ones. I consider this to be one of life's most valuable investments. These relationships are treasured possessions.

In April 2009, I lost my beloved husband. Death came swiftly with little warning, but it was peaceful. Two daughters, a grandson, our minister and I spent those last two hours at his side. The time was important to us. During the following months, my valuable asset of time was blessed with calls, visits and outings with my loving family and many friends.

Spring has arrived with promise and rebirth all around us. I look forward to the hours and days that lie ahead. When I reflect on my 46 years of marriage, it's the time we spent together I remember and value most. I am fortunate indeed.