They say having time means you’re very much alive. I couldn’t agree more. Life is all about time. But it’s also worth noting that being alive does not necessarily mean you really have a life, because it’s more than just time. It’s about having time and spending it wisely.
Most of us waste time by procrastinating, given the fact that our world today offers so much distraction and unnecessary diversion. Some simply spend time for things that really don’t matter.
Time, after all, is our great equalizer. Every one of us, regardless of our status in life, has been given the same amount of time. It is within our capacity to choose and decide on how we will spend it. Those who decide to use it wisely, I’d say they truly value the time they’ve got. They allocate it, they’ve got plans, they measure it.
Measuring time goes beyond just watching our clocks and wrist watches tick, and moments pass by. For me, valuing time means devoting it to giving love, serving those whom you love. After all, time and, consequently, life itself, are all about relationships.
Today I received a precious gift, a lovely wrist watch given to me by my cousin who passed away last month. This was one of the many items she included in her balikbayan box.
Upon receiving this, I couldn’t help but imagine her excitedly filling up the box. While doing so, she probably envisioned the time she would finally come home, dreaming all the things she would want to do together with her family. She worked hard abroad for almost 11 years.
This watch, for me, is not just a simple token from her. This symbolizes her effort, her time, her hard work, and her life. This is a gift full of love.
But what saddened us was the fact that this same balikbayan box was delivered to us on the third day of her wake. For all the time she spent working away from home, this was the last thing we wanted to see. The fruits of her labor, the love that she had wanted to give us, without her.
The box was not opened until a day after her interment. As we opened it, we also freed our hearts from the feelings of sorrow and grief. Because we know that this was also what she wanted us to do. Inside the box were things that made us feel her presence. These will serve as a remembrance for us, that once in our life, we have been blessed to have her, even for a short period of time.
Someone once said that we die twice. The first one is when we stop breathing, and the next when our name is spoken on Earth for the last time. More than the painful certainty and unknown realm of death, I guess what we fear the most is the moment our name, our time and our presence on Earth will one day be forgotten. Oblivion.
In the grand scheme of life, it is true that not everyone will remember our legacy, not even that of the most famous person who walked the Earth. But I do believe that a well-spent life, a lifetime dedicated on loving and serving, a life that has touched somebody else’s, will always be remembered.
When a loved one becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. As for me, I will forever treasure not only her gift, but also all the times we enjoyed being together, the memories that we had, the joy and the pain that we have shared.
One day, the hands of this watch will stop ticking, and my life on earth will be over. When that moment comes, when my time is up, one thing I know for sure will remain: Her memories. They will always be with me, beyond time, beyond infinity. I will keep it through eternity … forever.
(In loving memory of my cousin, Ma. Elena Concepcion Sandil, whose 40th day after death we commemorated on Nov. 16. May eternal peace be granted to her soul, through Christ’s mercy.)
Sheilla, 30, is a bank employee and a graduate of business economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She is a devout Catholic, a book nerd and spends most of her time reflecting on the meaning and purpose of life.
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