I’ve heard it said that the ancient Greeks had two words or concepts for time: Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos time is the never-ending march of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries and millennia. Chronos is unrelenting and unforgiving. Chronos is deadlines and appointments. Chronos was later personified as an old man, hunched over with a scythe, resembling our thoughts of the Grim Reaper.
Kairos, on the other hand is personified as a fit young man of capricious nature. Kairos is time reckoned in another way, as moments and experiences of an indeterminate length. Kairos is gift and grace. Kairos is moments of presence and joy and peace.
Chronos is “Office Time” and Kairos is “Vacation Time.”
I’m thinking about all of this because I just got back from Vacation Time and it was AMAZING. My wife Melanie and I parlayed Thanksgiving into a full-blown sunshine and beach vacation to the Florida Keys, followed by a couple of days of stay-cation before coming back into work this week.
Things have been busy for both of us. Business is humming here at Greystone and Melanie has recently been promoted in her work at Denver Rescue Mission, creating new layers of responsibility and stress. Furthermore, we’re nearing the end of a massive kitchen remodeling project that upset the equilibrium at home, too. We’ve both been pretty wound around the axle lately.
So, for this trip, we were very intentional about not checking work email or calendars. We slowed our pace way down. We ate well and we slept in. And what’s interesting is that even still, it took a few days for our shoulders to relax, for our foreheads to un-furrow and for our eyes to brighten. Sliding into Kairos was difficult because Chronos is such a horrible taskmaster, but when we did… it was glorious. Smiles and laughter came more easily and there was a lighter sense of being. Our break became an experience of life and of one another, not just a sequence of events.
We were only able to ease into Kairos because we purposefully unshackled ourselves from Chronos.
With the holidays approaching, here’s hoping you can find a way to Kairos soon!