Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What are you getting in return for the time you spend so freely?
The point here is that you should be getting something out of giving your time–something that benefits you, preferably benefiting your soul, but at the very least not damaging it. I’m always reminded this time of year of the story of A Christmas Carol, the story of a man who turns his back on humanity in favour of money–money that brings him no comfort. Dickens, in telling the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, makes him a character we come to pity–a man who experiences deprivation and loss, and comes to believe that money is the answer, in the process losing his fiancée and many of his friends as he comes to spend more and more time in pursuit of wealth. Scrooge comes to realize that kindness of spirit is something that has nothing to do with money, that it’s the gift of time which is precious, and that the hoarding of money can’t buy that time–and that if he is to stop forging the same kind of chain Jacob Marley bears, that time is precious. “Mankind should have been your business,” says the Spirit. Being miserly with your time with those you love and your community does not build reserves of banked time that can simply be called up in time of need–once the time has passed, it is gone.
Perhaps that is a lesson of the pandemic. We too often count on the future to bring us happiness–a hazy future when we will have the time to travel, or to spend time with loved ones, or pursue the activities that bring us joy, and so we postpone these activities. And then, suddenly, only when the door is barred and the future cloudy, we realize how precious that time is. I have long believed in treating the present as a gift (pun intended), but I have also taken it for granted. I don’t think I will make that mistake again, especially when it concerns friends.
I am nearly 200 pages into Uprooted, and it’s as good as promised. I have no idea where it’s going. And the depiction of magic and the process of spellwork is absolutely—well, magical. The language is gorgeous.
A friend pointed out the document below to me. As some may know, one of my favourite medieval women was Nichola de la Haye–famous for helping defend Lincoln castle as its hereditary seneschal against the French in 1217 (the second time she’d actually been involved in defending the castle). Here is a document where she grants land to someone as a widow, in her own name, under her own seal. I just wish the seal were a little better preserved.
As much as I’m squeezing some enjoyment out of this odd holiday season, it’s still like a beautiful gemstone necklace with a bunch of the stones missing: I recognize the shape, there’s still some sparkle to it, but I’d never actually wear it if there were alternatives. And when you think what those missing stones represent…that just gets sad.