Chronos and Kairos

The twins just had a birthday...four years old now.  I will spare you the "I can't believe they have grown up so fast" commentary...because it has gone fast but, it has been slow too.


I have been thinking a lot about what my life has been these last four years.  It's easy to sit here in my quiet studio and reflect when all of my kidlets are in bed and it is calm.  It's easy to feel that overflowing feeling in my heart and savor their beauty and love and remember all of the little joy filled moments we have had today. I can feel my breath being taken away just at the thought of how beyond blessed I feel when I really think about this life of mine.


But, frankly, all of the moments haven't been joyful.  Sometimes they are downright HARD, frustrating and exhausting.


Most of the time on this blog, all you see is the uncluttered, light filled parts of our life over here.  I do this on purpose because I want it to be an inspiring, beautiful place for you to visit.  We all have clutter in our lives...(and that clutter/mess piles up very quickly over here!). There is beauty in the clutter, I know I'll miss picking up coloring books and doll house accessories someday.  But it is nice to have places to go that are clean, pretty and clutter free.

A while back I read parts of a journal I kept during the time I was a missionary 15 years ago.  As I was reading, I felt a little disappointed in myself that in almost all of my entries, I didn't talk about what was hard or frustrating for me.  I just talked about the good things that happened and what I believed.  I think it is important to focus on the positive and I'm glad I didn't let the negatives crowd out all of the positives, but, I kind of wish I would have at least taken a line or two to write about my struggles. Because man alive I had struggles!

It was hard to talk to complete strangers about something that means so much to me and then to have them reject me and my message.  It was hard for a very athletically challenged girl like me to ride a bike everywhere, everyday in a skirt no less!  I wish I would have documented the struggles...mostly so that I could see how I had the courage to overcome them and how I grew stronger and stronger as I kept getting back up and trying again.

I just finished re-reading one of the best, most honest commentaries on mothering that I've ever laid eyes on.  Have you read the article "Don't Carpe Diem" by Glennon Melton?  I have had so many other moms recommend it.  I only read half of it until finally one day after having it recommended again thought,  "Sheesh, what is all the fuss about?!" and read the whole thing.  Now I know what the fuss was about...it's like Glennon went into my jumbled up mind/heart and articulated perfectly, exactly how I feel about motherhood.

In the article Glennon talks about two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos.  For clarity, I'm going to just quote an excerpt here (but you'll be so glad you read the whole article...it is so good):

"There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos."
"Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it."  - Glennon Melton: Don't Carpe Diem, Huffington Post, Jan. 25th 2012
Are you still reading?! :)
And so now I can measure what kind of time I'm in.  When I am feeling overwhelmed by the two stinky diapers and the accident on the bathroom floor or the daunting task of loading  and unloading  four car seats in the middle of winter.  When I'm feeling like less of a mom because three of my four children need to sit on my lap at the same time, I can remember that it's OK to feel frustrated, tired and spent.  This whole parenting thing is hard work! But I can also remember that I haven't given up and that I keep trying and I can relish in those Karios moments and thank God for both!
Chronos Moment of the Day: As mentioned above, two major poops with an awesome accident waiting for me on the bathroom floor all at the same time...funny how that happens all at once!
Karios Moment of the Day:  Laying by Laurel at bed time, then feeling her wet little lips on my face kissing my cheek after she thought, I was asleep.

 




Thank God for the Chronos and the Karios !

10 comments:

  1. There have been so many times in my life where the concept of chronos and kairos has been applicable. I used to describe it as the days are long, but the weeks fly by. The trick is to welcome the moments that slow down, and let the hard stuff go as quickly as possible. :)

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  2. Simply beautiful. Thank you for writing this.

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  3. Lovely, lovely. Just like you.

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  4. Love your post Hannah! Well said!

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  5. I loved that article! I find myself daily watching my family and slipping into that happy place and thinking, "THIS is a kairos moment." Great post!

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  6. I read that article too, and have been thinking about it a lot. I love everything you write and am totally inspired by you. I've also thought about re-naming my blog to something like, 'The Best 2% of Our Lives-Documented.' It's always nice to know that EVERY other mother is feeling the same way. This craziness is normal. :)

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  7. Sometimes it's hard to document the hard stuff. You want to forget it and move on and don't leave a record behind:} But, our lives are all of it, I guess. Thanks for blogging. It's a treat to read. Enjoy the moving in process. Perfect time to organize. (where did you serve a mission?)

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  8. Beautiful Hannah! I'm gonna remember the Chronos but esp. the Kairos in my life. Sometimes it IS hard to think of the good when something bad is happening/happened. Thanks for inspiring me to be better!

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  9. Thanks Hannah. You are such an inspiration to me. The last little bit has been tough for me and I needed to hear someone talk about perspective. It is exactly what I needed. I think about the time I was blessed to have with you as my companion and I smile but I shake my head at myself and think, "Why did she not smother me with a pillow?" I know I tried you, but I love you all the more because of your happy smile and your way of forgiving quickly. Thanks for being such a great example.

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  10. I too loved that article. You're at the point with your kids that I was about 7 years ago (my twins are now 11 and my 'baby' is 8). I have also started thinking in "chronos" and "Kairos" and it's so amazing to identify those moments. Like you, I now just try and recognize the kairos and acknowledge and enjoy it! That article really touched me too.

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