The alarms sounded again in our home this morning signifying that once again, a summer has passed, a year has gone by, my kids are on the cusp of entering high school and I am getting older. I don’t look at it as something to fret over but it does make one nostalgic for time spent changing out diapers rather than being certain the kids change their razors (yes, shaving is now a regular occurrence in the house too).
Today as I rode my stationary bike (so as to fend off the messages my body sends me reminding me of my mortality), I was reading Kathleen Bryant’s recent article in Presence Journal,“Being Contemplative in a Digital World.” In it she brings up an important distinction in how we look at time. She notes, “A spirituality for the digital world demands the ability to navigate between kairos time and chronos time. It is a spirituality that knows how to WAIT! We get impatient waiting for downloads yet we long for experience of the Timeless One!” It struck me how valuable a contrast to consider and one that I noted in my previous blog regarding a need to unplug.
Chronos and kairos are two sides of the same coin of time but we often fail to consider how they impact us. We live most of our time thinking only in terms of chronos time, that is, time as it relates to our schedules, when the bell sounds for class, deadlines, when Dr. Who starts, or any number of those items in our day planners. Kairos time on the other side, has to do with time “engaged with the Divine…significant moments that we always remember (pg 47).” The clock is no longer what determines the meaning but instead, our souls take the lead.
Both chronos and kairos could be seen as time wasted if one does not consider the deeper implications. While I might waste time watching a really bad movie on Netflix, the time I spend out in the woods waiting for wildlife to cross my path, might also be considered wasted – but in a good way, a way that brings an encounter with silence, with stillness, with creation and with God.
The time that was right for Jesus to come for us (Romans 5:6), is kairos time – time that is given by God. Yet even the followers of Jesus cannot influence or calculate the kairos time as Jesus makes clear in Mark13:33. Bryant suggests however, that we consider how our proximity to the Holy allows us to “synch” our souls in a similar way that we “synch” up all our technology. To do so, however, will require an attentiveness to how we use our chronos time that we might make room and space for kairos time.
I am convinced anyone can, the question remains can anyone? Others through history have but have you? Can we be content with what is right here and right now? Is it possible for us to savor the moments of life rather than just see the minutes on the clock? Some things must be un-done in our lives. It maybe only a small change in five minutes of your day or as significant as practicing a full day of Sabbath (you might consider reading Morgan Guyton’s insightful post on Sabbath). Before our soul sets off alarms warning we’ve reached our limits and are lost, we ought to consider setting an alarm on the clock to be aware of the soul and the Spirit.
May I Ask? What is the condition of your soul?
May I Suggest? For help in synching up with God and becoming attentive to kairos time, you might consider using one of these sites:
The Upper Room: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
Pray As You Go: http://pray-as-you-go.org
Three Minute Retreat: http://www.loyolapress.com/3-minute-retreats-daily-online-prayer.htm