Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

“There Is No Present Like The Time”


Flickr photo:Robbert van der Steeg

I was at a Bat Mitzvah this past Saturday and the presiding rabbi gave a sermon on the gift of time. He had seen an ad for a famous jewelry company that depicted a graduate in cap and gown, with a new watch on her arm. The caption was, “There Is No Present Like The Time”, which of course, is a twist on the old idiom, “There Is No Time Like The Present” to show that the watch was the gift of time. But the watch is also a metaphor for the larger definition of time. I wish I had the sermon to place here for you to read as the rabbi beautifully wove the two phrases together to create a talk on how time is the most valuable thing we can give anyone we love and the sooner and more frequently we give that gift, the better for all involved.

That theme, of time and the value of taking the time now, has shown up a lot in my work the past few weeks with several of my clients. One project I completed recently was a posthumous piece for the American Associates Ben-Gurion University on Sandy Breslauer, a woman who contributed so much to the organization and to children-in-need through her work as a clown and a volunteer with AABGU. I worked closely with her husband Steve, who provided much of the input for the video. I know he wishes he had more time with her.

Another client is a man whose father was absent while he was young, and he too was absent with his own sons during their early childhood while he struggled to build his business. Now he’s doing everything he can to make up for that loss of time, and doing an amazing job at it. As I was on the elevator with him, one of his employees got on whose wife had passed away the previous year. My client asked him when he was going to take his son fishing on a fishing trip my client had offered. The man said he had been busy and wasn’t able to get away with his son during spring break. My client reminded him that ‘there isn’t a man who, on his deathbed, wished he’d had more time to work.” The other man smiled and assured my client that he would indeed get out fishing with his son very soon.

I also edited some video clips from lectures that my client, Zen Master Miao Tsan gave recently. In one clip he talks about how people will save up money and work hard for their families instead of spending the money now to enjoy the time they have with their families now.

All three of these clients reflectively understand the value of time IN the present, each arriving at that understanding on a different path.

The rabbi spoke of a client of his, a man who was dying in a hospital room and yet could not get off his cellphone, making that one last business deal. He told the rabbi he was making sure his family would be taken care of after he was gone.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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6 Responses to “There Is No Present Like The Time”

  1. Annie Payne says:

    What a thought provoking article, Stefani. The rabbi is correct when he says that the greatest gift we can give to another is time. Thank you.
    Annie.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your comment Annie. I hope you are doing well in your new home! Best regards.

  3. Pat McNees says:

    Great title, Stefani. I’m sending the link to one of my memoir writing students who had his first heart attack this week and is eager to finish his life story, among other things. — Pat

  4. admin says:

    Pat, nothing like a scare to get you present to our unfinished business!

  5. David Komarnicki says:

    dear Stephanie,
    Serendipity is the word best describing my finding your website.Having taught most of my life-high school, corporate, university. I’ve come to realize people, through experiences gleaned through life,become a vast untapped reservoir silently longing to be tapped-and in the tapping- relive their existential moments by interview.Your world-class website,your services offered and the ease with which you write is marvelous. Sincerely, David Komarnicki

    • Stefani Twyford says:

      A friend of mine recently said that “serendipity is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Glad you found my blog and thank you for the beautiful comment.
      ~Stefani

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