Reflections from Kurt Simonson’s article on chronos and kairos
I was flipping through a magazine earlier, which is something I don’t often find myself doing. But today, it was worth it. Because I found and read and article that really moved me.
In “Chronos, Kairos and Tea Breaks“, Kurt Simonson shares his experience of seeking after rest and sacred space every summer at a place called L’Abri Fellowship in Hampshire, England. He differentiates between two types of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is clock-driven. It’s the time we’re used to, especially as college students. Chronos is time used to get things done and go to meetings and be on time and etc., etc., etc. Kairos, on the other hand, has “nothing to do with chronological time,” as Madeleine L’Engle explains in Walking on Water. It is those moments in life where all time and ticking clocks simply fade away as we experience life to its fullest, realizing after that two hours just went by. “The saint in contemplation…the artist at work…the child at play”: these people, L’Engle says, are all in kairos. And kairos time is what Simonson is saying we need to embrace more.
I agree with Simonson full-heartedly because I know that in my own life, the best and most sacred times were those “unhurried moments”, “moments without the pressure of time”–both phrases that Vanauken used in one of my favorite books, A Severe Mercy. Vanauken states that “all our most lovely moments perhaps are timeless.” I love sitting at night with a single light on and thinking about that phrase.
It’s time we take off our watches and seek kairos. Why, though? I think the answer might be that through kairos, we are truly living life in its deepest form. We are experiencing others and the world in the way we were supposed to. Through kairos, we become who we were made to be.