This morning my walk around my neighborhood was a Chronos walk. It could have been a Kairos one. Let me explain.
The Greek has two words for time which are Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is time measured by the clock in seconds, minutes, hours, days and years. Many modern watches and smart phones contain a chronometer, which measures the precise amount of time one spends on a particular activity. The word is a combination of Greek time Chronos and meter, an instrument of measurement. For years joggers, runners and walkers have worn them on their wrists to measure the time of their exercise. I remember purchasing my first wristwatch with one in about 1980, a real breakthrough at the time!
Kairos time, on the other hand, refers to an opportune moment, a breaking into one’s normal routine with a God moment; an inspiration.
I began my walk today in the penumbra of early dawn. By the time I reached the halfway point, the sun’s rays had lightened my path. For the past months I had been walking in total darkness. It was nice to be able to see once again the landscape of trees, green lawns and mountains on my morning walk. I wasn’t sure I would be able to take my walk this morning because of the unpredictable weather of spring.
Yesterday was a complete washout. Threatening clouds hung over our activities with high winds announcing an approaching cold front. Tornado watches were posted as the angry sky dumped torrents of rain on our roofs and on our enthusiasm. But the new day dawned with a full moon hanging on the horizon, cool temperatures, calm winds, and plants bursting in song and bloom wherever I turned.
In my writing, in my conferences and with my spiritual companions, I tell people to take meditative walks. To stop and “smell the roses.” To meditate on scripture, on a song or poem. To drink in God’s wondrous creation through the changing seasons and unpredictable weather patterns. To be and not just to do. To allow God moments to break through.
This morning I passed numerous Dogwood and Redbud trees in full bloom. The grass was the greenest it had been in months. The dirt and the grime of everyday life was cleansed from the previous day’s rain. The world was fresh and newborn.
There could have been many Kairos moments on my walk, but I was bound to Chronos. I had set my watch to measure the time, and my smart phone to map my path with GPS, to monitor my pulse and my pace. There were moments when I wanted to get closer to a tree or a flower, or to breathe in the freshness of the morning, but I wouldn’t allow myself to interrupt the walk. I was drawn to meditate but driven by numbers.
How often our lives are ruled and ruined by Chronos. How often even those of us schooled in the ways of Kairos fall back into our time-dominated routines. In this season of celebrating new life and resurrection, I challenge each of us to become more drawn to “opportune moments” and less driven by our schedules.