Be a Friend
Sometimes it seems like calendars are our enemy. They are full of things to do and quite frankly, sometimes you just do not want to do them. A recent weight loss guru was asked how many hours a day one should exercise and his answer surprised the audience. “None” was the response. The studio suddenly got quiet. “None/” repeated the host. “We need to exercise in terms of minutes”, replied the guest. “No one human body can exercise for hours on end and no one should try. Give your body time to recover and rest. Think of exercise as something we do for time slots of minutes and suddenly you will find the time and will to exercise.”
Not being a fanatic about exercising I loved that answer. It reminds me of an early comment when I first began this series and another I received after the attack on a priest in Nice, France. “Who has time to do good?” “I am too overwhelmed by all the misery to think about benevolence.” These readers bring up an interesting point – time.
Often we think of time as our enemy. There never seems to be enough of it and even when we are able to find some unappointed, unobligated time, we haven’t the energy to use it. Whether or not we’ve used other time periods wisely is a discussion for another day and blog series. The fact is that we need to give ourselves some time to just be.
I had a neighbor once who spent quite a bit of her day in her yard gardening. Her yard did look beautiful but the neighbor never really saw the beauty. Whenever she looked at her yard, she saw chores, things to do and things that needed doing. Appearances mattered to this woman and she got no pleasure from her work herself. Her pleasure came from the supposition that others thought her yard was lovely. The effort brought her no joy and yet, she devoted at least two hours every day to it. I never saw her happy while gardening and whenever someone offered a compliment about the fruits of her labor, she would shrug and mention something else that needed doing.
It is important to do those things that need doing. However, we should be able to see the rewards and take joy from them. We need to use our time wisely in order to befriend ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. I still want you to develop a spirit of altruism but remember that charity often begins at home. Find some time or schedule it into your daily agenda to rest. Relax in doing something you enjoy.
Is it possible to find time for yourself and find time to do something good for someone else? Of course it is. One of my dearest friends gets more out of fifteen minutes spent watching funny cat videos than many do watching a three-hour sporting event. Those fifteen minutes of animal antics completely destress him. How, he asked me, could he sacrifice those fifteen minutes to help someone else?
Many of us surf the Internet. Some of us are on Facebook and for many, this is a vital link to their friends and family. It not only provides a necessary connection, it also provides a sense of calm and rest. Like my cat-watching friend, this is how they destress. It is important to be a friend to yourself but I still think you should be a friend to others.
Why not take another minutes or two while online and do something great? Make your web surfing count for something more. Take a moment and donate five dollars to an animal charity or local humane society. If watching that three-hour sports event is more your style, then why not do some handiwork while watching and make a block or blanket for charity.
The thing is we all have time to be a friend – not only to ourselves but to others. One of the great things about the Olympics is that they bring people together. They remind us of the benefits of hard work but also the joy in just being together. The closing ceremonies are about ten days away but I am already gearing up to watch them – something to do, something to eat and drink, and a big box of tissues for the joyful tears I know will flow. I love seeing the diversity of mankind become one big party of joy. What if everyone there shared did one small thing for another?
We come together at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics united in the thrill of the sports celebrated. Hopefully, one day we can come together as friends, united in the thrill of helping one another, in being friends to ourselves, our companions, and strangers. We can and should find the time to be victorious in our living.