A family in my synagogue lost a young child.
As time passed over the last few years I have watched with awe as they navigated through their pain with grace and strength.
I am deeply impressed by how they are walking through life with this heavy, heavy burden.
I don’t know that I would have been able to do what they have done.
Time. You need time to learn how to live with pain.
Time. No one can speed it up, slow it down, or stop it.
It takes time to do what only time can do.
As I sat next to my oldest child who just got her driver’s permit, watching her first time behind the wheel, I seriously, I mean seriously, do not understand where the time went. How did this happen? Wasn’t I just watching her learn how to walk?
The people I work with sit out their time.
They do time.
They have had time inside.
When freedom is taken from you, I have come to understand that you learn how to hold time.
I had a recent discussion about restorative justice with one of my smart team members who with compassion and dedication spends lots of time behind the detention facility’s walls teaching inmates theater. I learned that studies have found that 20 years inside is the time lifers (people who have a life sentence) need to change.
That’s a lot of time.
Time is what is needed for a broken heart to heal.
It takes time to understand the effect that trauma and neglect can have on someone’s life. But, alas, it takes absolutely NO time at all for pain to turn into anger and then to turn into violence.
Time. There are things that we can understand only with time. I hate that.
It is only with time that we can really learn what the outcome is of the choices we make, and only in time can we fix those choices.
Time is so incredibly relative.
An hour for someone in pain can seem like an eternity. For two lovers saying good-bye at the airport, one hour can seem like nothing at all.
As we get older, somehow, we have less and less time.
I find it amazing how sometimes my children get bored, saying they have too much time when I am always in need of so much more of it.
“Our workshops will be 12 weeks and then we will have a final presentation,” I tell the participants.
“12 weeks? That’s such a long time,” they usually tell me.
Yet, right before the final presentation they don’t understand where the time went.
“Ms., time goes by faster when we do your program. It gives us something to do,” one girl said.
“Yo, Stupid,” someone yelled across the room. “Time goes by faster ‘cause we wait for her all week.”
I sit and listen to them.
And then she adds, “We have something to look forward to that fills our time.”
“Hope, fun, love-- when you fill your time with that, time even in this shit hole can seem better.”
“No shit!” the other one says.
She looks straight at me and says,
“Your heart, Ms., your heart makes the time here sweeter.”
I take a moment to hear what she said.
I walk over and give her a hug
“My time with you makes my life sweeter,” I say.
“Are you high, Ms.? Your time with us makes your life sweeter? You must be on crack.”
“No, I am totally clean, and I love my time with you.”
“Well, Ms., you gotta find better things to do with you time,” she laughed.
“No,” I say, “I’m good, so good.”
And you know, of course, this entire interaction happened in that golden time after class, right before I was leaving, just as my time in juvenile detention was about to run out.
That is always the most precious window.
Outside the walls, I have to beg for the time to do the program. Between school, work, and other obligations, in all the locations we provide our program now, time is of the essence.
Ironically inside the walls time is never a problem.
“You can come every day,” they used to tell me.
“We have nothing but time.”
My time working inside those walls changed me forever.
It takes time to belong.
It takes time to forgive.
We rarely give ourselves the time we need to process, to feel, and, most of all, to see.
To see what is in front of us. To see what we need, and to see how to serve authentically.
I know I don’t always take the time, and/or make time for me.
I know that I need to work on that. I do try to always, always, take the time to smile, to say a kind word and to be nice.
Because, honestly, that takes no time at all.
So, please, smile a little more.
Say an extra kind word and take a second to be nicer.
The rest of your time will be so much better because of just that.