Living in Kairos

We had a long day yesterday. Or, rather a long evening. In hindsight, I guess I could pinpoint some buildup, but something switched at dinner and our pleasant family time unravelled to wild imaginative games which made bedtime a time of struggle rather than rest.

IMG_9696It’s those moments of parenting which seem so, so long and which seem to zap my energy faster than what I’d imagine running a marathon would be like. (I’m no runner, but I’ve watched people cross the finish line. I think I wear their expression every night around 5:00…)

In A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle reminds me of the two words for time in Greek: chronos: measurable, linear, clock-driven time and kairos: immeasurable time that encompasses life – time at the dinner table, in prayer, with babies.

L’Engle says,

I sit in the rocking chair with a baby in my arms, and I am in both kairos and chronos. In chronos I may be nothing more than some cybernetic salad on the bottom left-hand corner of a check; or my social-security number; or my passport number. In kairos I am known by name: Madeleine.

The baby doesn’t know about chronos yet. (p 245)

I am up early this morning after this rough night. I just nursed Elle back to sleep and, rather than trying for one more hour of my own, I come downstairs, sit across from Frank and find time for something that makes me happy, for something that reminds me of my name.

How do you live in the balance between chronos and kairos?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is time.


Published by

Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

8 thoughts on “Living in Kairos”

  1. I love Madeline L’Engle and I own so many of her books. She sustained me through raising kids and the long season of parenting kairos. She sustains me now through her writing about aging and change. Thank-you for reminding me of her and taking me into your life for a few minutes.

  2. It’s hard to live in the balance between chronos and kairos. Being the gal who loves accomplishing her list, chronos is easier to function in. I “get” it. I can, to some degree, control how I spend my chronos time. I can get things done and mark items off my list. Living in kairos, it seems, requires being intentional. Being fluid, to a degree. It seems like it requires us to get our minds out of chronos time and slip into the kairos mindset. Being in the moment, so to speak.

    You’ve really got me thinking about this, Annie. I haven’t considered how to live in both sorts of time. 🙂

    1. I hear you! It’s way easier for me to plan and schedule (and get frustrated when things don’t go accordingly) than it is to live in that intentional, open spirit of kairos. Learning learning learning…. 😉

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