Taking Time for the Important
When Helen Young and I were working together on our time
management book fifteen years ago, I was going out to her house in
Malibu every week. It gave me a great opportunity to observe a
woman of great spirituality as she responded to the demands of
everyday life and the stress of time.
Iâ€™ve always valued professionalism. My time with Helen was
limited, and I was eager to make what I considered at the time the best
use of it. To me, that meant being totally focused on the project at
hand from the time I hit the front door until I left two or three hours
Helen was constitutionally opposed to that kind of singlemindedness.
Sheâ€™d stop for phone calls--from widows who needed someone
to talk with, from grandchildren who just wanted to say â€œHiâ€� to
Honey (their name for their grandmother, taken from what their
grandfather called her). The name fit. She was sweet as honey, and
we all wanted a part of her--discouraged missionaries, homesick
foreign students--and me.
She may not have seemed professional to me at my most
professionally earnest, but she was practicing the lessons we both
were writing about in our time management book--taking time for the
Helen and I are very different people. She once told me that sheâ
€™d like to have more of my honesty, while I, realizing how much
trouble honesty can get you into, recognized my need for her kindness.
We had differing views of a womanâ€™s place. While we both
recognized the importance of using our gifts and valued our marriages
highly, she used her gifts to support her husband Norvel in his work,
while my husband Frank's job wasn't really something we could do
We also had different approaches to time use. While I was more like
Martha, using time in the most practical way, she, like Mary, almost
automatically went for the spiritually superior.
The older Iâ€™ve grown, the more Iâ€™ve come to appreciate her
approach. Iâ€™m learning to slow down and value other people
more. Although I may not be able to be as much like her as I'd like,
I'm glad we were able to share that time together and that we have
always shared a strong desire to yield ourselves to God for his