I was so excited when I received Marybeth’s (MB) email. She asked if she could come for a visit. I immediately said yes and couldn’t wait for her reply. The next email arrived with her itinerary, she had to make it a quick visit, only 24 hours long. While I was still excited for her arrival, part of me was sad that the visit would be so quick. How would we ever squeeze in all our reminiscing and catching up and laughter and tears into 24 short hours. It would just have to do.
Now for those of you who have the true honor of calling MB a friend, these adjectives will come as no surprise to you. And while I could use so many words to describe my dear friend, for these purposes I have decided to narrow the list to three. Because it is these three adjectives that I saw her so clearly display in the short 24 hours we shared. PREPARED, PURPOSEFUL and PRESENT.
Prior to MB’s visit my husband and I received a slue of emails. The first email asked if we own the CS Lewis Series “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” to which we responded, indeed, as we are lovers of this book series. She was hoping to spend some time reading to the kids as she saw so many parallels between our path and the secret world of Narnia. Another email asked if we had the Game of Life. She was hoping to spend some time with our children playing the board game, and I’m sure discussing life’s many lessons. The next email asked about grocery delivery as she was planning to prepare some of our favorite soups for us to store in our freezer. With each email it became increasingly clear that MB’s time with us may be short but that she was intentionally PREPARING in advance to maximize our time. With only 24 hours, there was no time to spend in waste, there was not time to spend grocery shopping or running to Target to buy board games. She had a plan and she came PREPARED.
And this preparation was so important because MB had a PURPOSE for these 24 hours. MB came to love on my family. She came to encourage us in our hard. She came to bring light into the darkness. She came to care for our needs. She came to spend time with my children and show them they are known and loved. She came to give us rest. Both MB and her husband are two of the most intentional people I know. They are the kind of people who set goals, who share their dreams, who make decisions from a place of shared PURPOSE. And in our short time together, there was nothing haphazard or thoughtless. She asked probing questions so that she could better understand what we were walking through. She shared bible verses and video clips and book passages she felt would encourage me. She let my sweet daughter give her a fabulous makeover and they sat and caught up as they played the Game of Life. And as she ordered groceries and prepared to cook, I rested. And as she chopped and sautéed, I sat in a comfy chair sipping tea and laughed and shared my heart and heard hers. And the hours seemed to multiply like loaves and fishes, and I knew that these extended minutes were sacred and special and PURPOSEFUL.
You see, when you show up to anything in life PREPARED and with PURPOSE, it allows for something remarkable to happen. It’s that thing we are all searching for. It’s that perfect balance we strive for. It’s not focusing on the challenges of the past. It’s not wishing for the hands of time to speed up. It’s the magical and beautiful ability to live in the PRESENT and to be PRESENT in each moment. And for that brief 24 hours I spent with my friend, each passing minute was lived to its’ fullest because we were both fully PRESENT.
I learned an important lesson over the 24 hours I spent with MB. There are so many things I put off in life, whether it’s a phone call that I feel I don’t have time to make, or a friend I put off visiting because I can’t carve out enough time to make the trip. It’s the letter of encouragement that I put off writing, or the meal I plan to take to someone that I don’t have time to prepare. Or maybe it’s the book I plan to start but can’t find the time, or the conversation I need to have with my kids that will just take too long. It’s the long list of things I need or want to do but put off because the timing isn’t perfect or I just can’t find enough time. And meanwhile the clock ticks and the minutes turn into hours which turn into days and months, and the list of intentions grows and the excuses mount. But I’m so thankful that MB decided 24 hours was enough. She knew that if she put off the visit for another day, that it may never happen. She knew that if she waited for the perfect time, it may never come. But she also knew that if she was PREPARED and came with PURPOSE that she would be beautifully PRESENT for each minute we shared and that was indeed enough.
And it was enough! Those 24 hours were such a gift to my family and I. MB fulfilled her many PURPOSES and as we hugged goodbye my heart was overflowing and my home full of joy, and my kids known and loved, and my freezer stocked and my soul encouraged. And in that moment I knew that I would never view the passage of time the same again, because when you are PREPARED and PURPOSEFUL and PRESENT time has the magical ability to always be enough.