The time that we have.
As I got up today I thought about the things that have happened, the things that are happening and the things that could happen to us throughout this year. Don’t ask me why or for what but I thought about how much someone’s life could change in just a moment and I realized that the least thing that we own is time.
Many of us live as if we were eternal, as if our days on this planet have no expiration date. But, in fact, none of us is the owner of time and what we call our time isn’t even ours at all. If we add so many things that keep us busy and consume that time we think that we have, then I reaffirm myself more.
So, when I thought about what could be the greatest proof of love people can give to us, I concluded that it is to kindly share their time with us. And when I talk about kindly share their time, I mean that the person is there because he or she wants to be there, because he or she is committed to us.
I don’t refer to cases of convenience, where people are with us because they have no other choice left or because their own benefits come first.
I’m talking about when people care about us sincerely, when they are not forced to stay and they have the chance not to stay, but they still choose to be committed to us as the humans that we are. That person can be anyone, like your partner, your parents, your friends, teachers and other human beings that you interact with.
The start of a life.
As I was thinking about what I wrote above, one of the first teachers I had in my early primary school came to my mind. As a child I was very curious, as curious as quiet. I think I retain these two qualities to this day although the aspect of talking is changing, it now depends on who to talk to and for what. To talk for talking’s sake has not always been an easy task for me.
Picking up the thread, in spite of my curiosity, when I started primary school I had certain learning issues there. Fortunately, it was a blessing to be a student of the teacher that I mentioned before. She was so committed to me and to my learning process that, even though she was a very demanding woman, she had a lot of patience with me.
I remember that, despite my young age, I once asked myself about what she was seeing in me. She took her time to talk to my mom and tell her things that could help me at home. Luckily, I also had parents who were involved in my learning process, so involved that my own mother taught me private lessons at home. Both mom and dad always took their time to answer my large sessions of questions. Have you ever met kids who ask questions all the time? Well, I was like those ones but my parents didn’t stop my desire to learn, quite the opposite.
My first primary school year.
I can’t forget my first primary school year, when I saw that my teacher had put “promote to the next class” in my final report card. I was really wondering if she hadn’t made a mistake. I had a tougher learning process than most of my classmates and I didn’t expect to pass to the next class. To be sure, I had to ask my teacher if what she wrote in my report card was true. Her answer was “yes”, of course. But not only that, she added that she knew i could do very well in the next class. She also told my mother, who attended the report delivery program: “Your daughter works hard and she’s intelligent”.
What my teacher said was confusing because where I grew up in Equatorial Guinea, intelligent children were usually the ones who had the best grades in their class. Mine that year had been rather full of sufficients. But no, despite my results that year, my teacher treated me as if she saw something great I couldn’t see myself. She did not only show concern throughout the school year and repeated that she thought I was intelligent, that day she managed to tell my mother that in front of me. You can imagine how happy and proud my mom felt. Just like my father also did when she extended the news at home.
When they are there.
Seeing that my teacher and parents were proud and most of all, working hard for me, made me want to work hard and do things better too. In fact, I did not see what they were seeing then but I began to believe in it anyway. I started to believe that I could do better and I was determined to give the best of me. Guess what! That’s how my academic performance started to improve. It improved so much that, years later, I started to receive awards for it. Of course, those who met me at that point of my life thought I was born with a gift for studies. They couldn’t imagine a beginning like the one I described.
A proof of love.
On days like today, when I think about those days I ask myself: “Did those people have to do everything they did?” Maybe the answer for many people would be “yes!”. But truth is “they could choose not to do it” and I have no doubt that, that would have affected the course of my life meaningfully. A simple moment when a few words were uttered would have marked the path of my life forever.
I am someone who thinks that even our closest beings might choose not to do so many things that they do for us, such as committing, kindly sharing and dedicating their time to us.
None of us is perfect but anyone who lovingly shares his or her time and commits to us, is giving us a great proof of love. No one is committed to whom or what he or she doesn’t love. Not when they can choose not to be.
Originally published in spanish at www.vocesenvela.com