My birthday plans were simple… nothing too much; it's usually hard to get friends together so soon after all the holidays, anyway. People are crashing after Christmas and New Year's, and hesitantly thinking about the upcoming start to a new semester, so my birthday has never been the best time to have a carefree day.
But I'm used to that, so I made my plans and got a few close friends to join in on them. When the day came, though, I was in for a big surprise – the only one anyone's successfully pulled over on me, actually. One of my friends had planned an entire surprise lunch, and all of the sudden I was surrounded by a group of my favorite girls who were all there to help me celebrate. I really couldn't stop smiling.
"Are you happy?" one of them asked me. Happy? Happy? That word couldn't even begin to describe how I felt, but all I could do was nod because I was smiling too widely to say a word.
It wasn't just that they had successfully kept these plans a big secret, and actually managed to catch me by surprise – something my family has never succeeded at – or even what we were doing that day. What touched me the most was that they were all there. They had come from their homes (not having moved back to campus for the semester yet), or from work (right after work, to be exact), or from the possibility of making any other, maybe easier, plans. And they had come to help me celebrate.
No gift could even compare to that.
Because time is a very valuable asset we can never get back. Any physical items you can return, exchange, or just hold onto for their value. But when someone gives you their time, it's never something you can go back on, it's never something you can replace or repay. Every day, the moments slip away and are quite literally priceless. And yet some people are willing to give that time to you, for free, because they love you. Because they want to be with you and support you. And, yes, we had a blast! But the most touching part of all was to realize they took the time to come be with me, and their presence meant more than any other gifts combined.