With each look of the clock in summer’s early morning glow, I tick off another day until I return to the place that cultivates my authentic self. This anticipation, it keeps me sated among the dishes and dust, sweltering heat and heavy sighs of youth.
I long for first morning’s glance at the glassy lake glowing foggy mist at sunrise, to hear the faint lapping of water from a brood of ducklings swimming formation behind their mother. The smell of buttermilk pancakes and blueberries sputtering on the griddle mixed with the aromatic curls of French roast.
We welcome the twenty-two hours squeezed cozy in our mini-van, just to walk through the squeaky screen door of family roots on a lake in Canada. To the cottage nestled in pines, walls hanging with generations of laughter.
But while I measure time by chronos (the clock) until I return, God measures time by kairos (God time). And I wonder if my longing for kairos by looking at the clock is like walking conveyor belt through life. I’m mentally stuck in today, preoccupied with tomorrow.
Because kairos, it happens regardless of chronological time.
“In kairos we are completely unselfconscious, and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are constantly checking our watches for chronological time.” Madeline L’Engle, Walking on Water
How do we find kairos in the midst of the to-do lists of everyday? Wrap our arms around his neck and pull Him close, feel His breath on the crown of our head.
My son scavenges beneath the lake surface for clams, skipping them wildly on top of the water. I lose sense of time in a book on shores edge, on a quick, mid-day walk under Live Oaks, sipping tea under an umbrella of chirping of birds on my back porch before the family awakens. Sometimes the only thing to bring me back to the clock is the grumbling of my stomach.
How do you find kairos?
Because when we lose ourselves, unaware of time this way, our soul returns to its authentic state among the clamor of life’s distraction. We become alert to life as we live it, unlike proselytizing time with our to-do lists.
My Rwandan friend, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini says, “Americans have clocks, and Rwandans have time.” What he means is this sense of identity we find in our productivity – the checks on our to-do list that make us feel good about ourselves – can actually be the very thing keeping us from revealing our authentic self. And aren’t we all desperate to know who we are?
It’s time to remember. Just close your eyes for a moment. There you are, see your reflection in the mirrored pools of His gaze? It’s like taking the first breathe of life all over again.
While I’m dreaming of no makeup days and wearing a swimsuit until sunset, I’m closing my eyes while my hands soak in a sink full of sudsy plates. I’m finding myself reflected there beside you and my heart beats a bit slower now as he cradles me in the crook of his arm.
Tell me, how do you experience kairos?
Shelly has two teens, a pastor husband, a trusty camera, and writing life on an island. Her redemptive stories will make you think differently about life. You can read more at Redemptions Beauty, www.redemptionsbeauty.com or connect with her @SMillerRB on Twitter.