Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper is a modern folktale, a new story about an old character–Father Time. Dor is an ordinary man, with an unusual obsession. He measures and counts everything. Soon he begins to devise ways to measure the day, to measure time, and he is the first human to do so. But God did not want people to be restrained by time, so he punishes Dor by leaving him in a cave with no escape and nothing but the voices of every person asking for more time or for time to speed up or slow down. But Dor’s penace is nearly finished, and he will return to the world to see the schedule he created and to make amends.
Albom has a knack for writing about topics that we perhaps don’t consciously think about but that can profoundly affect our lives. Tuesdays With Morrie is concerned with grieving; The Five People You Meet In Heaven points out the importance of the people we meet and the relationships we are a part of; and now The Time Keeper explores the human phenomenon of counting the minutes rather than appreciating the big picture.
It didn’t take too long to apply Albom’s message to my own life. I recently started a new job, and every day I bring a book to read during my break. Last week, on a particularly slow day, I found myself doing exactly what the story cautions against: watching the clock and willing the minutes to move faster. I was currently reading a book about how humans live by the clock and are constantly thinking about time, and there I was, doing exactly that! Sometimes it’s important to forget about the time and just enjoy the moment for what it is, and regardless of how cliché that sentiment is, I would do better to remember that. (But I still wished the minutes would hurry up so my shift would be over and I could go home!)
Albom, Mitch. The Time Keeper. New York: Hyperion, 2012.
Book design by Betty Lew. Image from bn.com.