Today is our bonus day. The extra 24 hours we get every 4 years.
But, like those months where you get extra paycheque, that bonus can be set aside for something intentional, or simply absorbed into the warp and weft of everyday life.
Of course, I know that February 29th is not a day that exists outside of the calendar, outside of commitments or responsibilities. But, as an extra gift of time within the whole year, it is a reflective moment for me to ask myself, what is important to me in the time that I have?
This sentiment came up significantly in Atul Gawande's book, Being Mortal — a piece of work I would consider essential human reading. In that context, Gawande writes about the elephant in the medical room: death. The last third of the book really explores how to have conversations to articulate the important things to us, so that in the face of death, we have a paradigm through which to understand & make decisions.
But, isn't this a helpful question to ask at any time of our life?
I certainly asked this of myself when a relative of my husband's died young and unexpectedly last year.
How shall I spent my time, my efforts, my money, my mental capacity? However long that time is (the time that I have), what is most important to me? And, key: how do I make daily decisions to reflect those decisions?
What do I say no to? There is a barrage of input coming at us from all sides: information to absorb, great things to participate in, billions (literally) of people in the world to have relationships with... but each carries its own time, energy, etc. Where do I say no that will align with what is important to me?
What do I say yes to? Saying no to some things opens me up to say a hearty yes to others! What do I want to say YES to that will bring the best to me & to the world, an outpouring of what I have to give in service & love to others?
These are the questions! And what better time to ask them than when we have a whole extra day to consider our answers :)
This season for dignify has challenged us with waiting. Blankets have been leaving our hands at the fastest pace ever (yay!) and we are trying to simply keep up. Add extra inconveniences & delays (from COVID, from customs checks, and more), and we have been really exercising our muscles in patience, trust, and gratitude.
Culturally, we are in a stage of waiting, as well. Waiting for vaccine rollout. Waiting for "normal" opportunities to return, for "normal" life to resume in our cities, our nations.
Looking back at some photos from last Christmas, I came across this screenshot from my phone that really made me laugh:
My husband was dropping off our parcels recently, and a woman working in our shipper's office said, "I was looking at your site, and I think I might buy some of these blankets this year as gifts; I'm mostly shopping online." Another employee chimed in, "I'm going to do all of my shopping online, too."
That evening, he went with our kids to the mall to pick something up (masked, natch), and as he surveyed the hallways — with some permanently closed stores, some shuttered from lack of employees, etc. — Wayne's thought was, "I think I need to do all my shopping at the mall!"