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It was when Cathy opened up about the invasive, terminal cancer that left her unable to work in her yard like she used to, and Tina began to talk about being careful with her hands because she is a musician, that Timebank began to work its greater magic. “What instrument do you play?” Cathy asked. “The hammered dulcimer,” Tina answered. “I had a very dear friend who played the dulcimer. Her name was Becky Milsaps.” “I loved Becky! Becky was my student!” Tina exclaimed. “And I was her hospice nurse,” said Cathy. Tina’s eyes filled with tears as she discovered this connection to Becky, a selfless, upbeat woman, whose illness and death from breast cancer imprinted on her the value of unbridled human connection. Indeed, “gardening” would be recorded in the Timebank log. But being able to help the woman who tended their mutual friend in her dying hour is what Tina will always remember about this exchange. “It was so wonderful to have this come back around. Even though I earned a TimeBank hour helping Cathy, I felt like it was an hour I gave back to her for all that she had given. I was brought to support her, to give her joy and satisfaction and a feeling of completion.” There was reciprocity before a single time dollar was exchanged. “Without Timebank, I would never have had this conversation about Becky. This work became a gift. Doing this gardening work for Cathy was almost like honoring our good friend together.” - Part 2 of 2 by Debra-Lynn Hook as told by Tina Bergmann @ Kent Community TimeBank, Ohio Photo by Debra Lynn-Hook . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #honoringothers

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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

We return to yesterday – what moving that plant one more time really meant? That small act, that tiny shift in reality alters reality – but does it? 

Historically that question was stated in this way: “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” We are really asking whether the existence of something that happens is dependent on its being perceived or at least, having the capacity of being perceived and known. 

TimeBanking provides an answer to that question – because in TimeBanking, a single act is not just an isolated act. Its consequences radiate out. Transactions birth relationships and relationships birth networks and networks generate systems that yield feedback loops of gratitude, of trust and reciprocity. That pay-it-forward dynamic generates a kind of renewable energy that undergirds sustainability. 

In this way, a single act epitomizes a lifetime, momentary, transient, but affirming itself as an unperishable, undeniable moment in that reality we call eternity and in the space time continuum we call the universe. It is. It has happened. That happening cannot be denied or eradicated. It is what makes life an act of artistry by each of us, shaping and sculpting and creating and declaring: “I am. This is who and what I am.”

We learn in today’s TimeBank story how that assertion defied cancer and created a mentor relationship that transcended death, transcended mortality. Today, now, by this simple act of reading, we declare a moment of silence, of grace, of remembrance, of gratitude because of another‘s act of reaching out. TimeBanking vests us with a power, by savoring the act of another, to connect us to each other, to those who have lived and left us, to those to whom we have the privilege of giving love and caring that invests and reinvests each moment with meaning. 

We refuse to trivialize small acts; in doing so, we immunize ourself from a form of death: the hardening of the heart. One small act. No small victory.