December 22, 2011

Quality Time

During the holiday season we often think about gifts to give the special people in our lives. These dark days of December are a cozy time to reflect on all the blessings in our lives, and perhaps particularly on the people in our lives. I purposefully (and with deep gratitude) surround myself with people who energize, accept, inspire, understand, and love me. Sometimes, I find a special gift to give these dear ones. But gifts are not something I force. In fact, an inauthentic gift does not reflect how deeply I value my loved ones. Yet what I can always give and give authentically is quality time: time when I'm fully present for and open-hearted with the special people in my life.

Last weekend, I took my dad to San Antonio for the women's volleyball final four. (This was a surprise birthday/Christmas present for him, and it was SO much fun to make it all work.) The trip was an excellent example of quality time. While in San Antonio, we were in the moment and we truly enjoyed each other's company. This was a special gift for both of us.

It's interesting that during the holidays our culture is focused on gift giving and socialization, yet many of us feel exhausted by it all; perhaps because it's not quality time, but rushed obligation or habituated internal expectations. Yet if we make just a little space, this can be a natural time for reflection. As Mary Oliver asks in "The Summer Day": "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Maybe we can give ourselves and others the gift of open-hearted presence--a gift of quality time.


  1. Thank you! It is so enjoyable to relive those moments. I love you!

  2. And I love you right back, Dad!