By Michael A. Morris / michael@atljewishtimes.com

Time, what could be more important? Nothing, I will argue.

Michael Morris Arms FoldedWe all know what time is. We keep track of it down to the second and check it hundreds of times a day. Our daily schedules revolve around it. We understand the spectrum of time from a million years down to a nanosecond, yet its true meaning is virtually impossible to comprehend. Whether you are always on time or disregard it as best you can, we all have one thing in common: We want more time.

Humans, I believe, are the only animal to record the passing of time. My dog is never late. He is hungry at the same time every day, but I don’t think he understands the cycle (in deference to my dog, maybe he is hungry all the time). Mitch Albom stumbled on a key when he wrote in “The Time Keeper,” “Man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures; a fear of time running out.” How revealing yet sobering.

All things it devours, birds, beasts, trees and flowers

gnaws at iron, bites at steel, grinds hard Stones to meal

slays kings, ruins towns, and beats high mountains down — Time

— A riddle from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”

The thing that I find insanely fascinating about time is we have no control over it — none, zero, not even for the briefest of instances. We can enjoy our time, we can pass our time, we can regret our time, but under no circumstance known to mankind can we get our time back. Once spent, it is gone.

The one facet of time’s kingdom we can control is how we spend it. We spend time sleeping and eating, with friends and by our lonesome, happy, angry and excited, laughing and crying, doing something enjoyable and drudging through a project, or just playing golf (those who play know that golf represents the spectrum from grand gratification to detestable disappointment, usually in one round).

I share this concept for two reasons. First, I can think of no more important message. Spend your time wisely and know that you are in charge of determining the definition of wise. Spend time with family, enjoy the company of friends, build something, protect people from harm, relax, enjoy the fruits of your labor — the options roam into infinity.

Do not wait to spend your time wisely. There is no benefit in that plan, only regret. That does not mean every minute of your time must be happy. Oftentimes, you must work hard, study or tediously carry out an unpleasant task to accomplish a goal. My caution to you is to not spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for future contentment. You may never get there, and when you do get there, you have spent too much of your time.

It is worth reiterating: Do not wait to spend your time wisely; there is no benefit to this course of action.

The other reason I share this with you is because it is on the top of my mind. The Atlanta Jewish Times is a monumental commitment of time by myself, Michael Jacobs and others of our staff. I know I speak for Michael when I say that we are excited to spend our valued time working on your paper. A relevant paper will help our community feel closer: One more child might choose to attend a Jewish camp; one more teen might elect to go on a Birthright trip; a young adult might get involved with a Jewish group that looks appealing; a community organization might receive an extra donation to assist more people this week; valuable information will be shared and opinions voiced and heard.

In the end, the world will be ever so slightly a better place. That, to me, is time well spent. I am thrilled to be the AJT’s publisher and the current shepherd of this community asset. And I am content to spend my priceless time with you this way.

Now that I am over 50, I cannot help but look at younger people and wonder why they are wasting so much time. I suspect my father said the same thing about me at one time.