Time, such a measured concept that changes often. One day seems to last more than twenty-four hours, like when you were a little kid and summer vacation seemed to last forever. Then you have a moment in life where time seems to stand still as you process the tragic news. Then you are having the best adventure and the day flits by as if it barely started. Our day to day lives mostly occur somewhere between time standing still and time flying by.
Recently I was in the veterinarian’s office and a woman came out without her dog. He had been put to sleep. She was shaking and trying hard to hold it together so she could get to her car and let it all out. The staff told me what happened and I asked the woman if I could give her a hug. She clung to me as if her last breath was gone and she sobbed, sobbed and then sighed the words ‘thank you’ into my chest. I held her tight and told her I understood how she was feeling and I was sorry for her loss. Everyone in view had tears in their eyes as we could completely empathize with her loss. Time robbed her of her best friend and for the first time in fourteen years she would be going home to an empty house.
As we interact with people we have no idea of how time is treating them that day. Is it a friend or foe or something in between? Are they managing their time, spending it, investing it or simply glad to be wasting it? Hugging that woman reminded me that everyone deserves kindness no matter how time is treating them that day; their day may be much worse than mine, so tread lightly. My time is coming, tragedy will strike and some unknowing stranger may provide just the hug I need in my moment of sorrow.
Look up. Look around, who in your view may be time challenged today and how can you ease that burden? Maybe give them your place at the busy checkout line, or give them a sincere smile to show that you see them, or maybe just give them that knowing nod so they know you too have survived the frenzy. Time can be kind or a beast, being aware of how to interact with our fellow travelers can make all the difference.