Kairos

7 Jun

This photo was taken from an archaic, not so good camera phone at dusk when the lighting wasn’t ideal, plus the fog had just rolled into my neighborhood. But I took it anyway because the jacaranda trees are in bloom – a horticultural event that only happens once a year. This was my opportunity. My kairos. To capture the jacarandas in full splendor – a flowering tree that I love and which brings me joy. Why wouldn’t I capture it and sing its praises? Heck, someone at work used the jacarandas in bloom as an excuse to have a party.  

The word “kairos” is Greek and means season or time. It distinguishes itself from “chronos” – (another Greek word for time) in that it signifies an opportunity or season (as opposed to the kind of time we keep when looking at our watches). The word has been heavy on my mind not only because it was mentioned a fair amount in a sermon I heard today but also because I’d already been thinking much about the subject of “kairos.” 

I currently spend three of my work days as a psychotherapist in a senior intensive outpatient program. This is a program designed to treat seniors (ages 60 – 80’s) dealing with depression, grief and loss. It’s not the first time I’ve worked with the elderly. I worked in a nursing home in my mid-twenties for four years so I know a bit about age related grieving. Yet I am now 41 and I am working with folks who aren’t living in a nursing home. They live at home or in assisted living and for the most part, are just like you and me. Except that one woman mourns that she can’t walk her dog because her hip is giving out and another just lost his wife of 39 years (almost the span of time that I’ve been alive). They are in a “kairos” – a time or season of coming to terms with their mortality. 

Working with them puts me in touch with mine. In fact, for the last few months, I’ve been intensely in touch with the fact that my years are numbered. Having both my parents dead keeps this in mind, as does realizing that the biological clock is ticking and I haven’t had a child and might not. Time may have ran out. So how do we make the most of the season? How do we tap into what needs to be done now? Or what wonder is here now? How do we embrace the “kairos” and make the most of it for kalos (good) instead of evil or blaiseness? How do I not squander the precious time that I’ve been given?

I start by taking photos of jacaranda trees NOW instead of waiting until I buy a proper digital camera or an I-phone (because I’m sure neither will happen for a number of years). I start by going on trips (recreational or otherwise) if I have the funds and the time and the health to travel. I start by smiling every day no matter how much I might hurt inside at times. I start by ALWAYS helping those in more need than I, even if that is just to stop and say hello to the person on the street who asks for change. I start by following my heart’s love of books and learning and expression. And I start by beginning and ending my day with God – tracking His presence moment by moment in the time in-between.

One Response to “Kairos”

  1. Stephanie June 7, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    Beautiful message and beautiful photo. May we all be mindful of the wisdom of these words. Thank you, Lise!

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