The Greeks of old had two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to time measured in minutes, hours, days, years. It refers to the passage of time; and when it passes, it is gone forever. Kairos is time measured in moments, sunsets, sunrises, seasons. It refers to the fullness of time and the ripe moment for the universe to unfold. Kairos happens again and again, often getting better each time with every cycle.
Chronos is the measure of what it takes to get from here to there, from now to then, from one point to another. It is the tick-tocking of the clock on the wall. It is linear and goes only in one direction. It is the arrow of time, always moving forward, never to return. It is the time that once lost is lost forever.
Kairos is the measure of what it takes for something to unfold or for someone to become. It is all the elements of a picture coming together and all the pieces falling into place. It is cyclical for what has happened before can happen again or even keep on happening forever. It is the fullness of time where we experience the fulfillment of a longing, the realization of a dream, the breaking through of a hope. It is endless time where all our hopes and dreams reside.
When I was actively working, I often reckoned my time in terms of chromos. My work time was measured in hours; my schedules were laid out in days, weeks and years; my compensation was computed in hourly, monthly or yearly rates; my vacation and leisure were denominated by the days or the weeks of vacation leave I was entitled to. The milestones in my life were marked by the completion of a task within an allotted time period, be it the achievement of a sales quota within a quarter, the completion of a report within a week or the submission of a strategic plan at the start of the year. Life was lived in non-repeatable events that once gone were gone forever: like the day I was born, the years I was in school, the date of my graduations, the day I was first employed, and on and on, until the date of my retirement. All of these are gone forever. Perhaps not, for I have a lot of photos from those days.
Today, I often reckon my days in kairos and moments: like, moments of silence and solitude early in the morning just as the new day is breaking; or, an invigorating walk through the woods with Anabelle; or, a refreshing hike along the sea with friends; or, relishing and consciously doing mundane household chores like cleaning, cooking and laundry; or, exploring new places and doing new things; or, engaging Jane in her interminable conversations; or, watching Jonathan in his endless games of the imagination; or, running an errand for Martin and Kathleen or surprising Mickey by doing little things at his condo or packing and shipping knick-knacks for Macky and Lani; racking my brains over what else I can do for or give to Anabelle. The high points in my life today are moments of shared laughter, moments of snuggling and feeling warm together, moments of loving service, moments of quiet reflections. These are moments when everything finally falls into place and makes sense to me. These are moments of peace and joy just being grateful for who I am and what I have done in life. My life is lived in the moment, marked by the passing of the seasons, the coming and going of moment-ous events, sunrises and sunsets.
The physical body lives in the chronos: so many heartbeats in a minute and just so many years in a lifetime. And as my body ages, the minutes I have become less and less. The spirit lives in the kairos: in countless moments when I feel uplifted and in endless moments where I know that even as I use up my minutes, I am slowly converting them into moments, captured in the my memory, etched into the person I have become. I know that all of these awesome experiences are going to come again for I shall be living in the eternal moment.
Spirit Moments records my daily reflective prayers at Sacred Space. Through this spiritual exercise, I winnow the minutes of the day that was and the day that will be and try to glean moments of grace and blessings making my today into a moment-ous now.