The Time Keeper

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I just finished reading “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom and I must say I have a new appreciation for time. It is a story about the first man to count time, before it was ever recorded. In the days of the Tower of Babel. This man, Dor, becomes Father Time and spends an eternity listening to people beg for more time, for yesterdays, for tomorrows.

We live in an era where we are obsessed with time. How many times a day do you look at your watch or clock to determine how much time you have left? I do it all the time. Gez, I’m using the word “time” so much in this post. LOL! Am I late, am I early, do I have enough time? I hear myself asking these things constantly.

I hate to be late. I hate to have people wait on me. I’d rather be early than late. If I’m late, I feel like my whole day is thrown off kilter. I’m a stickler for being timely.

This book made me wonder why we record time. Why we have to count the moments, the days, the years. Why not just exist without time? I’m not sure. It is what God has decided. “There is a reason God limits our days. To make them precious.” (Mitch Albom).

How do you treat your time? Do you treasure the moments or rush through life on a speed boat, not given quality; but sucking up quantity? There were two other characters in the book as well. A high school senior who was experiencing her first true heart break by a boy and a man dying of cancer, who was preparing his “eternity” and leaving his wife out of his last days. Each of them were snatched away from their final moment of existence by Father Time to realize how precious the time they had and what they would have is.

The young lady I connected with; because I so worry about my own son and how he will treat other people, how they will treat him and if he will be strong enough to defeat his first broken heart. I worry too much. I’m a mother and I guess it is my job to worry; but not to this extent. He is so much stronger than I am.

In another way, I connected with the old man; because I think of my parents, who are both in the mid 60’s and only God knows how much time I will have left with them. Will it be enough?

Time. We are consumed by it. We write songs about it. We beg for more. We want it to speed up and slow down. We write books about it. We record it. We check its passage. We need more or want less. In our tragedy, we want it to stop and go away. In our happiness, we never want it to end. Time. Time. Time.

It marches onward, never backward. We have too much on our hands or never enough. What is our obsession with time?

I love time. I love clocks. I love to think about the passage of time. I love to collect mementos of time. I am a historian, who chronicles its passage. I write about the memories of my time. I collect the photos, the memorabilia, the emotion of time. I see it as precious and painful and worthy and like so many others, find myself begging for more and for it to pass quicker. It flies when we are fully enthralled in a situation and crawls when we have nothing to do. When we are wishing for it to hurry, it drags on by. When we want more of it due to our absorption in the moment, we are disappointed.

Children are the worse. They cannot measure time. To them, five minutes is an eternity because they are out of time. To them, their ignorance is bliss. They only know time when Mom or Dad tell them they have no more. Even my dog senses time. Mostly when he knows it is approaching the time of day when he is to go for his walks. He knows when he wants me to walk up and walk him or take him out in the evenings. Ah, to live a life without a schedule would be bliss; but in this go, go, go world we live in, Time is our master.

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Time

What is time? A unit of measure in which we mark the passing of. Time is an invention for humans. No other animal, vegetable or mineral on this planet measures time except humans. I’ve never seen my dog check any clock for the time. Of course, my dog does know the time to get up to go out, the time he needs to take his afternoon walk and when it is the appropriate time for us to go to bed. However, he doesn’t consult his wrist watch to know the time, it is an internal thing for him or a ritual.

I remember when my son was small and 5 minutes of time was a lifetime for him. He would pitch a fit over being put in time out for a mere 5 minutes of time. To him, it was an eternity. Today, he still grumbles about time; but not as much as he used to. Days or weeks are more his complaining phase rather than minutes or hours.

For me, I mark time. When I am in miserable pain, I feel every second that is of my life. I feel the ticking of the clock beat a staccato in my brain as the pain radiates through my soul. Will my pain ease in 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days? I’m not sure; but time marches on as I lay in agony, praying for the time to hurry up until I can be eased of my own misery.

For some, they pray for more time. For others, they want their time to speed up for important events. Time seems to fly when we are engrossed in fun, a project or busy living life. Time seems to creep by during times of boredom, crisis or pain. However, time marches on at the same rate no matter the task at hand. Sixty seconds to every minute, sixty minutes to every hour and 24 hours to every day. Time does not slow or rush forward, it keeps on steadily, day in and day out.

Why are we so obsessed with the passage of time, then? I guess because we never seem to have enough of that precious time to do everything we want to do. When our time is up, it is up. We can’t go back to finish the things we didn’t have time to finish.

I count each day as a gift. I get through them each the only way I know how and I try not to worry about the things I can’t seem to get finished. Life is an ongoing project. I want to make the most of each day. I tell my son I love him daily. I make sure to always kiss him good morning and good night. I value the time I am given, pain filled as it is, and remember what is important for my life.

What does time mean for you?