Kronos can be defined as quantifiable, predictable phenomena and cosmic rhythms.
It is time that can be measured. It is linear time—seconds, minutes, hours—an order to which we are habitually slaves.
It is repetitive, exhaustive, eternal.
We abide by Kronos—chasing deadlines, packing every possible humdrum chore into a single day’s to-do list, and as a result, our lives become systematic, mundane, rigid and cyclical.
Basically, Kronos is a redundant sequence of WTF instances.
The WTF instance in which you are re-routed to a call center and get stuck arguing with a benighted dimwit.
The WTF instance in which your fatuous nimrod of a co-worker, who is clearly deprived of sweat glands and who wears sweaters in 100 degree weather, turns up the thermostat, causing you to dodder on the brink of heat stroke for an entire workday.
The WTF instance in which the smell of burnt popcorn starts to invade your nostrils. Do people not realize that acrid, scorched kernels smell like someone’s fanny oils after going an entire week sans shower?
It’s like a mixture of death and swine.
The WTF daily occurrence in which the printer gets jammed, ants are drinking your coffee and you simultaneously hiccup, sneeze and fart in front of colleagues.
The WTF instance in which a mosquito trapped in your clothing, is gnawing on your nether regions, and Pandora starts playing the Macarena for said mosquito to dance some more.
The WTF elevator ride in which you are subjected to the rectal vapours of Mr. McFlatulent; 15 whole seconds chock-full of noxious venom.
The WTF instance in which your toddler repeats something 864 times. I am madly in love with my daughter, but, to be quite frank, three is the age between sloth-like helplessness and semi-rationality that can make any parent feel like using some mushrooms—not the comestible kind.
Kronos WTF time is the arduous, interminable, energy-suck time that can consume our essence, if we let it.
And, then there is Kairos…
Kairos measures moments.
It is qualitative.
Kairos moments are the few which essentially take your breath away. Moments of grace, the opportune ones, the right ones, the perfect ones, the ones in which the world takes a breath, and in the silence before it exhales, we are suddenly freed from our dreadful Kronos-filled, WTF days.
Your three year old telling her baby brother, “Chill your blood, rasta.”
Your six month old sucking on your cheek, slurping his own drool and giving you a million slobbery kisses-turned-hickeys.
Your daughter exclaiming, “Mama, I’m having an existential quandary just like Uncle Sheldon and Uncle Leonard.” Evidence that she’s been watching one-too-many episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
And, later, when you ask her if she’s finished on the toilet, she says, “No, mama, I’m just so, so, full of crap today.”
Moments of ceaseless laughter. Whispers. Snuggles. Hugs.
The smell of the earth right before the rain falls.
Wild parrots flying ahead of a setting sun.
Fireflies vanishing under the moon’s glow.
The wonderment in your child’s eyes as she appreciates a shooting star.
Practicing yoga on a cliff to the sound of crashing waves beneath you.
Your Nile cruise docking for the night in front of the majestic Temple of Komombo.
Being entranced by an exquisite piece of music.
Witnessing the births of countless squishy little humans as a job.
Your first elephant journal article hitting the ‘Popular Lately’ section…
Kairos moments are those in which all sense of tick-tock time just fades.
Now and then, life seizes us with its simplicity, graciously illuminates any darkness in our minds, and stocks our hearts up with radiance. Now and then, we happen upon a beauty and exultation that enraptures our souls.
These are the moments that are effervescent with meaning. Our lives are perpetually twinkled with the magic of Kairos. We just need to be mindful enough to flow with that magic.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Travis May
Photo: Eddie van W./flickr