Kairos

May 24th

I’m reading a book that refers to the Greek concept of kairos — the state of in between when something special happens. Not the quantitative chronos, but the spiritual, mystical kairos. The athletic “zone.” The Christian moment of grace. The moment before a roller coaster plummets, a newborn gasps a first breath, a champagne cork flies through the air.

This weekend I found kairos in the grace of a ballerina’s arms. I watched, rapt, as a dance troupe leapt across an auditorium stage. Folded into my tiny chair with a furrowed brow, I felt my fingers tingle and my anxiety fall away when the ballerinas came on stage in a flutter of beauty. One ballerina in particular was so tall, so elegant. Her arms and legs moved like water rushing through a canyon — strong, fierce and yet simply perfectly flowing.

I felt kairos in the rush of ice cold water when I dove into a swimming pool, joining a clump of other Speedo-clad adults. The familiarity of the navy square tiles on the bottom of the pool, the red plastic lane lines, the sharp sting of chlorine flooding your sinuses after the first flip turn. The snap of a latex cap and the pinch of my goggles, I felt like I’d returned home when I felt the first splash.

Carob brownies

Cooking, especially, is a state of kairos — the in between. The chopping, grinding, measuring and waiting for the final result. The carob brownies three days late for a friend’s birthday. She didn’t remember the delay  (chronos) when I handed her these.

More tomatoes

Gardening, too. The planting, tending, watering, weeding. The baby tomatoes, squash and peppers that sprout with youthful determination. It takes mature patience to wait for the ripening. The sweet, juicy lure of homegrown warm produce from the garden — worth both forms of time.

Finding happiness without measuring life by the chronological isn’t easy. And yet, moments of kairos dance by unappreciated if my heart is paced by the tick of the clock.

Time to take off the watch.

~K

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10 Responses

  1. I am feeling kairos just reading this!! 🙂 Or whatever the right word is. The brownies look awesome.

  2. Beautifully expressed as always, Kelli.

  3. I am enchanted by this post. Your writing here is brilliant. You bring that concept to my senses. I am not a swimmer but I felt like I too was splashing into the cold. You could almost write an entire novel with that seed of truth. Loved it.

  4. Love your writing and Kairos! My husband’s really good friend just planted a church in Riverside, California and named it Kairos Church.

  5. Love this! It is such an apt description of those moments in life when everything just seems to culminate in something breathtaking, something for which there is no English word! You have written about it so well! Thank you for introducing me to kairos! 🙂

  6. Beautifully thought out and written.

  7. Julia May 24, 2010

    As a fellow blogger I bet you share my sentiments for the best in-between of all… the hours, sometimes days, before you actually write a post that has steeped in your mind for quite some time.
    Your perspective is gorgeous. Thanks.
    j

  8. I’ve been thinking a lot about kairos lately too. I don’t know where I first read about it, but I understood it to be that feeling one gets when sitting down to draw/paint/write/teach…(your favorite thing here)… and 5 hours go by and it only feels like 30 minutes; where you are so lost in the experience of the moment that you forget yourself and the soul comes out to play. I love your post Kelli. Thank you so much–sweet dreams AmazinGirl! 🙂

  9. There are definitely more words that need to be grafted into the English language!

  10. Debbie May 25, 2010

    You might experience Kairos when listening to “Kairos, a consort of singers” at http://www.kairosconsort.org. I loved attending their concerts when I lived in NY state.

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