white space is kairos
It was as though some deep artesian well had been struck in my soul . . .
You and I shall soon blow away from our bodies.
Money, praise, poverty, opposition,
these make no difference, for they will all alike
be forgotten in a thousand years, but this
Spirit which comes to mind set upon continuous
surrender, this spirit is timeless.
Frank Laubauch, Letters from a Modern Mystic
Writing about brinkmanship earlier in October and of slowing down, that is just plain doing less and not squeezing more stuff into less time, reminded me of another lesson from raising Kyle and all the whippersnappers. Once I slow down my frenetic pace of life, I began to see another aspect of time unfold, unhurried time.
I am not talking about clock time or chronological time, time divided into increments and set in a circle or along a line (the Greeks called that chronos); what I am talking about is kairos time. God's time.
Kairos is time as a gift, a season or an opportunity. I say kairos is artisan time, time spent listening to and tuning my inner life, my deep heart and sacred soul, so it will be reflected in my outer life. This is the way God measures time, in fullness or ripeness for its intended purpose.
It helps me to think of time like this in seasons. October is the season of pumpkins, falling leaves, windy evenings, darker mornings and slanting golden light through my window in the late afternoon.
I had a childhood season, a home season living with my family in all sorts of homes and countries, a college season when I studied architecture, lived in an house with five girls (the Sweatbox) and met Mike. I had a young married girl, working full time as an architect season while Mike was in med school, then I became a mama and had a raising my babies season. That took a long time!
During that time, I was home "wrestling the alligators" as my friend Phyllis likes to say; changing dirty diapers, wiping sticky hands, keeping up with laundry, legos and American Girls. We were teaching the basics of listening, kindness, sharing and reading. When they were little, my energy was spent challenging my physical strength; lots of running after fast kiddos and never ever enough sleep. I never thought any time would be harder than this. But this was a season when we could hold their pudgy little hands.
Then the season shifted when they got to be teenagers. I loved the teenage years despite what people say. During this time, my energy was spent more mentally, emotionally and spiritually; teaching good decision making, answering hard questions, defining good friendships, navigating the trying ones and challenging the kids to think for themselves.
It helped Mike and I to stop telling the kids what we wanted them to do and encourage them to make those decisions for themselves. We were preparing them for the next season when they would be out in the world deciding for themselves who they would be, deciding what it looked like to follow Jesus, or not.
Our quiver was full to the brim with four whippersnappers. We had each arrow poised, taut in the bow and ready to launch. But always we were asking ourselves, What is our aim?
When is the time ready to let those arrows fly?
To consider time from up above life's terrain, God's point of view, is to step into eternity while still being very much in the here and now. This to me is unhurried time.
When we take the ticking of the clock and lay it before the dusty feet of Jesus, we are redeeming the time, letting our savior buy it back for heaven's glory. He only had 33 years walking this planet’s dirt and a world to save. Yet he had a sense of calm and purpose about his time. I have already had more than that and not nearly as much to accomplish. My question to myself, is with what will I fill my kairos time?
It must involve laughter, caring for a child, generosity, holding tears, noticing God's imprint on the world, begin grateful, counting stars and sand and blessings and freckles, resting, turning toward my heavenly Father, being true in all things, sharing meals with family and friends, bringing justice and compassion wherever I go, humble sacrifice and service to one another. Kairos will include waiting on, surrendering to and praising God's perfect time.
I am thirsty to fill my empty cup with living water, with the intentional keeping of my soul and timeless intimacy with Jesus who was never in a hurry and yet never wasted time either.