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"I met the bravest, most wonderful person on Christmas Eve. She desperately needed help packing up her condo to move closer to her daughter. The TimeBank ad said she had heart problems. After talking to her for a while she told me she had Stage 4 cancer. She was so upbeat & so grateful for the help when she was the one helping me. It was Christmas Eve day & I had nothing to do. My husband is a FedEx driver & I was alone again. I looked on the TimeBank to see who might need someone & Cathy had only days to get her belongings in boxes. We started in the livingroom & packed many books & magazines. She told me how she used to work as a nurse. Her cats wandered in & out of the room checking on our progress. Then we moved to the kitchen. As with most people born during the depression Cathy saved a lot of items. She had a hard time trying to decide what to do with all of them. I suggested calling some neighbors who might be baking cookies to get rid of the many tins. It worked! A neighbor showed up in minutes & took an armful away. We continued to pack & talk & before I knew it we were out of boxes. Several hours had passed & it seemed that Cathy was getting tired even though she took several breaks. I think of her often & wonder how she is doing. Cathy, if you read this I hope you are doing well. Thanks for reminding me that Christmas is a time for giving." - Mary Jane Huth, Crooked River Alliance of TimeBanks, Ohio https:// crookedriver.timebanks.org/ . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #giving

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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

It was Christmas eve, and Mary Jane Huff was feeling empty.  Her husband was away, working as a FedEx driver delivering packages.  No doubt those packages included Christmas gifts, but still, he was gone.

Fed Ex is a commercial service, it’s purpose: to make money – so the absence of Eve’s husband, delivering gifts at such a special time for families, invites reflection.

Moving and packing might seem to be just about stuff.  But it became about more than stuff when it enabled Mary to help out a terminal cancer patient and work with her side side by side.  Their joint labor invested significance and meaning in tasks that might otherwise be dismissed as just one more thing to get done. The timebank exchange lifted Mary Jane as it also lifted her timebanking exchange partner.

Exchanges that involve giving and receiving are also transactions.  But exchanges based on time, without regard for cost or price, can have a different meaning and a different value than transactions involving money.

An exchange based on time involves a gift.  It creates the sense of relationship having a life of its own.  And the relationship, giving rise to our meaning and purpose to life, is priceless.  Transactions of the kind that involved Mary Jane with another timebank member on the day of Christmas eve answer the question we wake up with every morning:  Why are we here?