Make Time to Love

An older couple posing for a photo in a park.

What is the hardest thing for you to give up on a daily basis?

For me, it’s my time. Since I’m a planner, it’s a continual challenge to release time to spend with people and get involved with activities outside my regular agenda. In the past, I gave more priority to my projects than to people.

However, in recent years God showed me the importance of intentionally letting go of some of my neatly-arranged plans and creating space to enjoy friends and family. Now that people’s names are sprinkled throughout my monthly calendar, my joy has increased and my stress decreased.

This life-changing lesson also brought about a desire to build a deeper and more meaningful relationship with my Uncle Miles. When Aunt Elia went to heaven, his life changed drastically. Mine did, too. Her death was one of many losses among my family members within a short period of time.

In my sorrow, I cried out to God, “Father, please don’t take Uncle Miles from me yet. I can’t say goodbye to anyone else right now. Please let me have more time with him.”

God gave me six more years. Those years became the most memorable ones for me. Uncle Miles and I became close friends, not just family. Our friendship filled the empty places in both of our lives. We began taking turns calling each other every weak—either he from the west coast or me from the east side of the country. We discussed family memories and happenings, but he always wanted to know about me. In turn, I wanted to hear about the highlights and downsides of his life at the retirement center.

It didn’t matter that he was in his 90’s. He stayed engaged in my life. Every fall I flew to Oregon for several weeks to see family and friends. During those times, he and I talked together in his apartment, shared some meals in the dining hall, and ate at a couple special restaurants. Our spontaneous phone calls in between were a treat.

We also began a tradition of taking a day trip together every year. Our favorite outings included drinking in the beauty of the Colombia River gorge and enjoying the majesty of Mt. Hood. Though hindered by his macular degeneration, he amazingly directed our journeys and made sure I didn’t miss any turns.

One year, after delivering Uncle Miles back to the center following our day trip, we sat together in his apartment. Words of encouragement and mutual admiration flowed between us.

Finally, we stood and hugged good-bye. “Honey, thanks for spending time with me. Really enjoyed our visits while you’ve been here and especially our trip today.”

Knowing I was returning to Orlando the next day, we looked into each other’s eyes with deep love. I believe he knew he wouldn’t see me again. I was unaware. Perhaps that’s why God prompted me to say, “Uncle Miles, I’ll see you next time . . . but if not, I’ll see you in heaven.”

Uncle Miles died less than three months later at the age of 97. I’ll be forever grateful to God for showing me how to make time to love my precious uncle so I wouldn’t miss the memories I’ll cherish forever.

What memories do you share with a special person because you chose to give up your own plans and spend time with them?

Published by Gail Porter

Gail Porter is an author, inspirational speaker, and workshop leader. Her latest book is Will the Real Person Please Stand Up? Rising Above the Fear of Rejection.


  • Cordelia(DeeDee) Lampe Lindh

    February 7, 2024 at 7:42 AM Reply

    Oh, Gail, what a Wonderful story of sharing and making time for friends!! I am absolutely going to figure out who to connect with hopefully on that level and when that might happen. You have inspired me!! THANK YOU!! HUGS! DeeDee

    • Gail Porter

      February 7, 2024 at 8:53 AM Reply

      DeeDee, knowing that my story inspired you to look for a way to connect more deeply with someone you care about warms my heart! I’ll look forward to hearing about the story that unfolds for you!

  • Rebecca Carpenter

    February 25, 2024 at 3:36 PM Reply

    Your story was touching to me. I can relate. All of my aunts and uncles were gone so Alan’s uncle was the last of that generation. They had moved to Iowa so we didn’t see each other like when they lived down here. His wife died a couple of years ago. Since then we had kept in touch more often. He called me to see how I was doing and I did the same for him. I called him a couple of weeks ago but there was no answer. Then I found out he had passed away the day before. I was thankful that we had those calls and he always read my writings. Even though I know he is in heaven, the grief hit me–one more gone.

    • Gail Porter

      February 28, 2024 at 10:48 AM Reply

      Rebecca, thanks for sharing the wonderful story about your uncle. We both can be grateful that we were able to have many conversations with our uncles. A bonus for you was knowing he read everything you wrote and was proud of you! I’m sorry for the loss of this precious person, Rebecca. Gratefully, because of your relationship, he will always be part of your earthly life, until you see him face to face.

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