I had plenty of time to listen to podcasts this weekend on the 1700km road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane. I listened to two fairly recent ones from Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast and two quotes really stood out for me.
Love is a four letter word spelt T-I-M-E.Edith Eger
This one hits hard this month when time has been on my mind. I’ve had many conversations with students as Lent began about Lenten traditions and ways in which we can keep meaningful practices for ourselves this Lent. Time often comes into these conversations when we talk about recognising needs of others around us – as I say to the students, time is the greatest gift we can give others – and also giving ourselves time to be, think, reflect. We’ve discussed what time-consuming things (distractions?!) we can fast from to make more meaningful use of time for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Important conversations, but put into sharper focus for me by the tragic death earlier this month of a beautiful 19-year-old man I taught in a cycling accident. A real reminder that we have no idea how much time remains to unfold ahead of each of us. In the deep sadness of such tragedy, there is some comfort in knowing that he had so many adventures and made the most of the opportunities that came his way. It was a blessing to work with someone who was the living definition of humility. He prioritised giving himself to others, choosing to give his time to the Thailand immersion over going to a national championship in his sport, supporting junior students in volunteer roles at parkrun, taking on school leadership responsibilities alongside his academic and sporting commitments. An inspiration. I am devastated by his death but know his spirit will live on in the love and memories we hold.
Time is our most precious resource and one which we have to make difficult decisions about – and life often forces us to block out and prioritise our time, especially for work commitments. But there is something joyous in the reckless use of time to have fun with others. So my Lenten challenge revolves around being conscious of – and where necessary rethinking – how I use my time and how to love through the gift of time.
I have been blessed; let me be a blessing.Emmanuel Acho
In the context of recognising areas in which we hold privilege, Acho’s words are a reminder that patriarchy’s scarcity culture tries to convince us that we have to put others down in order to get to the top, when in fact we should be holding spaces for and helping out others in areas where we have access or privilege. We need to get over the fear of the scarcity of power in order to redistribute that power more equitably. Being a blessing to others means we have to be really present to them, to give not only our time but our attention. I hope I can be a blessing to others, wherever and whenever I meet them – and that I can recognise when I’m not!