I have always loved and enjoyed Cecelia Ahern’s stories; I’ve made no secret of that. I never know what quite to expect from them because she surprises me in the best possible way. They are incredibly unique, creative and charming novels that are full with an insightfulness that leaves you touched.
One of these books is The Gift. Ahern spins a witty, warm and wise modern-day tale of love, regret, hope and second chances that reminds us of the most important things in our lives. Like her other novels, The Gift is the kind of book that makes you think and leaves you with lingering thoughts. It forces you to take a deeper look at yourself and how you live your life.
If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?
Everyday Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.
On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room.
But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?
As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to see what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.
This is a story about people who not unlike parcels, hide secrets. They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are. For Lou Suffern, that took time.
One thing that I love about Ahern’s novels is that she never fails to add a good underlining meaning and message in them. The message in this book is simple: There is nothing more valuable than time.
We all think we have time but we don’t. Eventually it runs out and everything we kept putting off until tomorrow gets left undone.
A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that ’til tomorrow, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity; you’d think we’d pay more attention to what he had to say.
“The early bird catches the worm.” “A stitch in time saves nine.” “He who hesitates is lost.” We can’t pretend we haven’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time; heard the poets urging us to seize the day.
In The Gift, Ahern writes:
“Time is more precious than gold, more precious than diamonds, more precious than oil or any valuable treasures. It is time that we do not have enough of; it is time that causes the war within our hearts, and so we must spend it wisely. Time cannot be packaged and ribboned and left under trees for Christmas morning. Time can’t be given. But it can be shared.”
– Cecelia Ahern, The Gift
The fact that time eventually runs out is the very thing that makes it so precious – More precious than money, more precious than anything. You can never earn more time. Once an hour goes by, a week, a month, a year, you’ll never get them back.
We cannot waste our time.
Still, sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping.
Sometimes we have to waste it to realise how precious and valuable it is.