Monday, December 14, 2015
When we experience time as chronos (chronology), the events of our life are nothing more than randomly connected series of incidents and accidents over which we have no control. Time has become opaque, dark, and impenetrable. We cannot see through to the underlying coherence of our story. Disappointments, unemployment, material loss, sickness, and death are experienced as meaningless disruptions to be denied and avoided if possible. When time is only chronos, we don't have time to do all the things we need to do, and our schedule is a burden. Time is running out, and time is exhausting. There is no time for friendship, for blessing, for celebration.
Time needs to be converted from chronos to kairos - an opportunity for a change of heart. The spiritual life is a formation process in which time slowly loses its opaqueness and becomes transparent. To start seeing that the many events of our day, week, or year are not obstacles to a full and meaningful life, but the way to it, is a real experience of conversion. Once we discover that writing letters, attending classes, visiting friends, cooking food, and even doing the dishes are not a series of random activities but contain within themselves the transforming power of re-creation, we move from time lived as chronos to time lived as kairos (right time, the real moment, the opportunity for change, the chance of a lifetime). When our time becomes kairos, endless new possibilities an opportunities open up to our vision.
-Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Formation