Monday, December 23, 2013

Is there time to make someone smile today?

This is something I have been asking myself more and more lately. Do I have the time for this? How to do the benefits compare to the amount of time I spend at it?

Do I really have time to write Christmas cards to everyone? What will I get from it?
 
Do I have enough time to get the cross-stitch project for my grandparents done before Christmas? What will I get in return for it?
 
Do I have enough time to drop off a donation at SCAT? What will I get out of it?
 
Do I have enough time to go to Gilles' hockey game? What's in it for me?
 
Do I have enough time to exercise? What do I get back immediately from this?
 
Do I have time to go to church? What will the consequences be if I don't go?
 
Do I have time to write in my blog? What use is it to me?
 
Do I have enough time to start a new knitting project? Do I have enough time to see friends for New Years? Do I really want to start volunteering?

All of these questions I have asked myself in the last month. While many of them I have conducted and many of them have resulted in me appearing selfless or good of heart, I am ashamed to think that the second question is always tied to the first. Yet even when the only answer I could come up with was 'Nothing', I still got immeasurable return from my actions.

 I got many, many smiles from sending the Christmas cards, both in the process of creating them and in the flood of Christmas cards and letters that I got in return. I got the joy of creating the cross-stitch project, the satisfaction of finishing it, and the tender and loving knowledge that it and the effort put into it will truly be recognized and appreciated by its recipients. I got the satisfaction of knowing that a few less cats would go hungry over the holiday season as everyone turns their faces toward family and friends and forgets about the little ones in our shadows. I also got to spend a full hour surrounded by a dozen friendly, more-fortunate-than-they-once-were felines. So on, and so forth.

True, some of them despite my best efforts did not occur. Sometimes there really isn't time. I didn't exercise as much as I wanted this holiday season. Instead I focused on getting the sleep I desperately needed to stay healthy. I didn't always make it to church, although I have been making it more often than I once was. This is the first time I have written in my blog in what feels like a very long time.

But as I look at the last three questions, the ones that are still waiting for their answers, I try to stop myself. It isn't always about me. The knitting project? Okay. This one is about me because it is for me. (A project I have been waiting almost 3 years to start). But visiting family and friends for New Years? If I took myself out of the equation it would be no question. The volunteering? Also, no question. Especially if I get the post that I want, helping immigrant high school students with their homework, helping them slowly learn and understand the English language at the same time.

When it comes down to it, it isn't about the time. I need to stop asking 'Do I have the time?' and instead ask myself 'Will it make someone smile?' because in the end, when my time has stopped I'm not going to look back or be judged on how much I did, or whether it was 'worth' the amount of time that it took. In the end, all that is going to matter is the difference I have made in the lives of everyone around me. I want... I need to make a difference. It isn't about me. It is about a smile.