Monday, June 25, 2012

Time

Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.                    - William Faulkner *

In about an hour we are headed to the beach.  Last night, Anna Cate said "if I go to bed earlier, the morning will come faster. If I stay awake, it will never come." I said because time flies when you are asleep. I love the expression a few mothers have told me about life with children....the days are long but the weeks/months/years fly by. So very true.

Twice in the past several weeks I have read about the concept of kairos. Here is wikipedia's description:

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos isquantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature.[1]

I think it is fair to say I'm quite lousy at chronos, a horrible time manager. I get frustrated, overwhelmed, don't know where to start, how to plan to use it. For more examples, you can get a list from my husband or my brother.  Anyway you get the idea I'm not good at chronos. But since I've read lately about this concept of Kairos... First, here in this fantastic review of time with kids by a beautiful and fabulous person and blogger who is starting a love revolution, Glennon Melton. Momastery was introduced to me by my fabulous friend, Norah, who is a brilliant time manager amongst being great at a gillion other things. Then, last last week in my desire to spend more time being, I picked up the book  Walking on Water and this author talks about this idea of God's time. And as I reflect on the start to our summer, I want to focus on the moments of Kairos, of special opportunities, of Real Time. God's Time.

Anna Cate eating a home-made rasperry popsicle she made herself. I think about how proud I am for learning about real food, the fact that she knows where these rasberries came from she put into that blender.

Molly going swimming and I see in the sunlight just how beautiful her face is. I forget for a split second all the "I do it myself" which contributes to my frustrations with Chronos.


This past week I did something with the kids every day and it is so overwhelming to an ADD person to get two kids and all their stuff out of the house. Sometimes as we are leaving for swim practice, Rosie gets out and I am so angry I want to cry. This is chronos, right.  The minutia of the details of life. I stink at that, but I'm starting to think it all works out because what I'll remember is the kairos. I hope it is what they remember, too.

Anna Cate's best friend spent the day and night with us.

(this is not my garden but a friend's...she is living a life of kairos...NO TV in her home)

I love how Leana (and Anna Cate) include Molly.

We went to the park for picnic....A glorious summer tradition in Fredericksburg. On Tuesdays, there is live music and a gaggle of Mamas and kids and babies and a farmer's market.  Norah and I reflected on how we remember bringing our babies, Leana and Anna Cate, six springs ago.  A lot of schlepping, hustle, fussing (and maybe even a couple yells) to get out the door, but special times abound while we are there.


This little girl in the picture with Anna Cate, Mallie, was a baby when Anna Cate started going to Miss Diana's, so she is a piece of my children's childhood and I just adore her.  Every day, she ran to give me a hug when I got there to pick up the girls. She starts kindergarten in the Fall. We love you, Mallie!

On Wednesday, Mum Mum invited us over for a "shaving cream party."



She had 5 cans of shaving cream, three little girls, a card table and a baby pool on a tarp and a lot of fun. 

Marian, age 79, mother of four and grandmother to 8 children, used to be a first grade teacher and I looked at her, and said, "I bet your classroom was so messy."  And by messy I meant fun. 



On Wednesday, Anna Cate swam in the first swim meet of the season.  She got a ribbon on Thursday for her "personal record"  and she cut off 27 seconds from her 25 meter freestyle.  She likes the other kids and the concessions as much as the swimming and race part. On Thursday we went to our friends' home to swim and play. I almost considered cancelling because to be honest, I was a little sick of schlepping and packing...the cumbersome details of chronos.


But I'm so glad I didn't!!!



Anna Cate ended up staying for the afternoon and when Laurie brought her home,  the kids shared a popsicle and my dear friend and I shared an afternoon cocktail.

Laurie and I have shared many good and hard times together.  So thankful to be finding moments of love, fun and peace in each of them...kairos.
So now we have arrived at the beach...It took us most of Friday and all day Saturday to get things ready, unpacked, kitchen stocked, beds made.  So many details but so much good living to be had this week for my little family and our Nana.



From Walking on Water, by Madeleine L’Engle:Kairos. Real time. God’s time.




That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos we are completely unselfconscious, and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we’re constantly checking our watches for chronological time.


The saint in contemplation, lost to self in the mind of God is in kairos. The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside herself in the game, be it building a sand castle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos we become what we are called to be as human beings, co-creators with God, touching on the wonder of creation.


This calling should not be limited to artists, or saints, but it is a fearful calling. It is both Mana and taboo. It can destroy as well as bring into being.


In Our Town, after Emily has died in childbirth, Thornton Wilder has her ask the Stage Manager if she can return home to relive just one day. Reluctantly he allows her to do so. And she is torn by the beauty of the ordinary, and by our lack of awareness of it. She cries out to her mother, “Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me… it goes so fast we don’t have time to look at one another.”
And she goes back to the graveyard and the quiet company of the others lying there, and she asks the Stage Manager “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” And he sighs and says, “No. The saints and poets, maybe. They do some.”

 I would like to think that this scattered-brain, overwhelmed, poor time manager of a Mother has moments of realizing life while I'm living it too.  Well, sometimes I am in the company of saints and poets in those brief moments of being called into being, while I...we.... experience kairos.







*About ten years ago, I tried to read a Faulkner book "As I lay dying." I may have gotten through two chapters. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I didn't get it and it made me sad because I felt like as a good Southerner with a love of literature, I should be able to say I've read some Faulkner novels.  Maybe now, I would understand his work because this quote resonates with me, but don't think I have the time to read it.  

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