The Time Is Now: Sixty Time Pieces for Reflection and Action

The Time Is Now: Sixty Time Pieces for Reflection and Action

by Daniel Wolk


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The Time is Now is a life-affirming book, a book for those who do not want to look back on their lives discovering they have not really lived -- it is the ultimate guide to maximizing time. We are all too busy, trying to do too much, but Daniel Wolk shows in these sixty vignettes that with a bit of cleverness and thoughtfulness and a sense of humor, we can get a tremendous amount done, and achieve a high degree of satisfaction, getting the very most and the very best from the time we have.

In the tradition of Care of the Soul, The Time is Now poses thought-provoking questions about what is important in our lives and how to use time to our best advantage. How do we use time? Why do we waste time? Why hurry? Why wait? Some of the vignettes were inspired by literature, philosophy, science and religion; others come from Daniel Wolk's personal experiences, and the experiences of friends. The 60 "time pieces" are divided into such sections as "Run a Marathon: Life Goes On," "Gone Fishen': Why Are You Waiting to Enter Life?," "Play Ball! Find a Partner," "The Tombstone: Don't Bury Words," and "Sunflower Seeds: Plant for the Future." The Time is Now causes us to explore values and, in turn, question our use of time. The result is the all important change in our perspective toward life and the way we live it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780879518325
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 01/28/1998
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.34(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Daniel S. Wolk has been the rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El in Westchester County, New York, for over thirty years and is the author of The Dirt from Tripp Street.  His travels have taken him as far afield as the Himalayas, Thailand, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, but his spiritual center is his home on Tripp Street in Mt. Kisco, New York.

Read an Excerpt


This book is dedicated to my father, who, even in his final months, understood the precious gift of life, lived fully in the present and refused to squander any moment of his too brief years.

It was 1956. My father and I sat in the bedroom of our home in Albany, New York, looking out on a mountain ash in the front yard. Birds swooped in and stole the orange berries from the branches of the tree.

"What will you major in?" my father asked.

I was a sophomore in college.

"Literature," I answered. "The romantic poets. Byron. Keats. Shelley."

"And after college? What will you do then?"

I looked puzzled.

"Perhaps you wonder why I ask these questions, Daniel, but I wanted you to know, whatever you choose to do in life I will be satisfied--as long as it is right for you."

My father sighed. "I may not be here to see the paths you choose. The reports from Mass. General Hospital were not good. The blood cancer is spreading."

The year was 1956. I was a sophomore in college and my father was dying. He was fifty-eight and dying. The same age as I am now.

Why do I share this story? A story of the death of the one person most important to me for so many years. Why? Because this story is not about death. It is about how my father lived--especially the last year of his life.

Like many of us my father had a dream. He was a rabbi and his dream was to build a sanctuary, a temple designed like a tent in the wilderness. A temple soaring into space; to inspire future generations. For eighty years his congregation, Beth Emeth, had worshipped in downtown Albany, near the statecapitol. Now they would erect a new structure on Academy Road.

On a cold October day, my father lifted the first spadeful of dirt at the ceremonial groundbreaking; he also carried the weight of the doctor's prognosis. He would die. But this knowledge did not compromise his devotion to ensuring the temple would be built. Day after day he drove to the site, walked barren ground, and watched steel girders slowly rise. As the months passed my father no longer had the strength to wander through the maze of unfinished rooms, but every day a congregant drove him to Academy Road, parked across from the Albany Academy, where I had attended high school, and my father watched the progress. His spirit never waned. With each visit he marked one more accomplishment in the slow emergence of his dream. As the peaked wooden roof inched its way into the heavens my father gave thanks. For what? For his own life. Looking back on that chapter in my family's history I realize my father viewed each steel beam that rose as one more confirmation of his own presence on earth.

When forsythia sent out yellow harbingers of rebirth, of spring, my father lay in bed, planning the dedication ceremony--carefully choosing the words with which he would address the congregation. One week before the event the doctor suggested that my father tape the dedication message. Dad hesitated then said with confidence: "It's not necessary. I will be on that pulpit. I will be there." Finally, he agreed to record his words. They began, "As we consecrate this sanctuary to God..."

The dedication of the temple was scheduled for May 29th. On the morning of May 29th my father died. Peacefully. And fulfilled.

The Time Is Now is not a book about death. Quite the opposite. It is a book about enjoying the wonder of life. My father died at an early age but he never felt he had been deprived or cheated. Even in his final year. Why? Because he viewed life as a constant journey. He treasured the steps leading to the mountaintop as much as he might have delighted in reaching the peak. He realized that every moment can be a dream within our grasp.

My father, the product of the immigrant experience, raised in an orphanage, plucked each blossom life offered and realized his dreams over and over. When his time came to leave this earth, and he asked himself, "Where have I been all my life?" he could answer with a smile, "To many promised lands."

There are those who live to be fifty-eight. Others live to be ninety-five. Some of us die at twenty-five. Not a physical death--a death of the spirit. I would define death as that point in our lives when we no longer savor the wonder of life, no longer experience the promise of a new day, no longer grow. That may occur at any age. The Time Is Now urges the reader to look back on the years and to ask: Have I used my time well? Have I, at least once, taken the road less traveled? Have I appreciated each day, found pleasure even in the midst of sadness, observed sunlight filtering through the clouds?

Recently I saw a poster: "This life is a test. It is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do." But this life is not a test. It is all we have. To live richly or to squander.

Where have you been all of your life? Are you satisfied with your answer? Few of us are. But the premise of this book, and each vignette in this book, assumes we can begin today to appreciate our years. Today. Who knows where we might arrive if we set off on the myriad of paths that lie before us; if we open the doors of opportunity calling to us.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

My father lived the last year of his life believing he still had miles to go before he slept. That final sleep. He gained satisfaction with every day that dawned and he knew it is not what you have lost but what you have left that matters. All of us have time left. Could we use that time more productively? Could we gain greater happiness and contentment? Where have I been all my life can lead to the question: "Where do I want to be the rest of my life?"

This book is dedicated to my father, Samuel Wolk, born: 1899-died: 1957, but it is really dedicated to anyone willing to ask: "Where do I want to be in my own life, and with those I love?" Inspired by your own unique answer you can move toward lands filled with promise, personal sanctuaries where your hopes may be realized, where your dreams come to pass.

What People are Saying About This

Alfred Uhry

Reading The Time is Now is like spending quality time with a warm, wise, witty and well-traveled friend, who magically makes you feel better about yourself.

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