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Lisa Hess considers the blessings of an unexpected day off, and the importance of giving ourselves the gift of time.

One day shortly before fall break, the unexpected happened. I came downstairs to check my computer before work only to discover that a power outage on campus had delayed the start of classes until at least 10 AM. While I didn't yet know if that would affect my 11 AM class, I still had a decision to make.  

And emails from three students already awaiting that decision. 

My choice? I gave us all the day off. Sort of. I gave them an assignment, and I dug into my virtual pile of things to be graded. 

The plan? Work all morning and write all afternoon. I briefly toyed with a few other ideas (laundry, a better dinner than the leftovers I’d planned), but quickly dismissed them. 

If someone gave you an unexpected day off, how would you spend it? Would you organize a cluttered space? Tackle a long-neglected task? Truly take the day for yourself? 

One of the benefits of my random Thursday off was that I was unable to plan for it. It just arrived out of the blue and at a time when I really needed it. In some ways, it was like a snow day (remember those?) only better. With snow days, we usually have an inkling they may be coming, and so we start making lists, using up our day before it even arrives. 


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Taking care of ourselves is perhaps the most productive thing we can do.  #CatholicMom


The gift of time is a beautiful thing: one we often wish for and rarely receive. Yet, in our desire to be responsible, we sometimes use up that gift, rather than savoring it for the wonder that it is. And, when we do savor it, we sometimes feel guilty for “wasting” time or “not being productive,” forgetting that taking care of ourselves is perhaps the most productive thing we can do. 

The gift of time is one of the loveliest things we can receive. Personally, I plan to treat it with every bit of the respect it deserves. 



Copyright 2023 Lisa Hess
Images: Canva