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Kairos Time: Finding Slices Of Joy In The Chaos Of The Day

01/12/2016 01:38 EST | Updated 01/12/2017 05:12 EST
Tom Merton via Getty Images
Close up of smiling woman drinking tea outdoors

I am struck with how often I assess my overall day as having been a "bad" one. Or an "awful" one. I define these days of my life as being "the very worst," or otherwise define them as being "too busy," "too stressful," "too overwhelming."

Too anything, but "good."

Recently, there were a number of lows in my day, starting with the overwhelming task of using my one day off at home to tackle housework, laundry, meals etc., ALL while figuring out how to tear down one million Christmas decoration that needed to be put away.

(Side-note: all that got accomplished that day was the tree. And by that explanation I mean this: all that got dismantled was THE ACTUAL TREE. The ornaments are to this day still on a chair in the middle of the upstairs hallway. Never mind everything else. Blech.)

Add to this loveliness, when I get up at 8:00 a.m. (ish) on a Saturday (that is, any given Saturday): I face a busy day at the rink later on. Which really means that I waste half my day looking at the clock wondering if I have enough time to do anything. (Me looking at the oven clock while asking myself: is it time to go yet? Is it TIME??= INSANITY).

Add to this thought, my blood pressure took a spike around suppertime that same night when hamburger chunks charred onto the stovetop, pasta boiled over as well and then Daughter announced she was making supper, and not using the ingredients I had out thawing half the day and which were then smoldering on the burner.

Nor, she informed, would she need a recipe.

I am not ashamed to say that my nerves fell apart. I was a complete train wreck, no getting around it. The train left the house and drove to the end of the road and back to cool its engines.

All this to say that when I got up and in the shower the next morning and thought about the day before, I just breathed a sigh of relief that it was over. No looking back fondly with a deep sense of satisfaction and pride. No overwhelming sense of "wow, that sure was a great day." Nope. Just a "glad that one is over and done with."

Just thankful that each new day is a fresh start.

But really: is it? We still have the same life, same faces staring back at us, same situations to deal with (just different circumstances); still have the same house, same issues. Not to forget, the same me, too. A girl with the same deficit of patience, tolerance, and often, grace.

The same stressors just keep coming back again, maybe through different doors, or via different access points. But nothing is ever really new on any given day. We are still living the same life.

So, I am beginning to wonder if the key to not succumbing to the stress is found in focusing less on the overall difficulty and frustration, choosing to not let these be the centre of attention: but rather, finding the five minutes of joy in each and every day. Looking for the positive slices of life's happiness that fall in between the bigger sandwiches of negativity.

Glennon Melton on this radical way of looking at the days of our lives:

"There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them. Kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it."

Here is the clincher (the part of the essay where Glennon adds this brilliant after-thought): "If I have a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success."

A couple moments make a day a success? SAY WHAT?

WOW.

So, those days when everything falls apart -- you lose your temper and your supper burns. Those days when you are facing one million household chores; those days when your kids are driving you bananas. Those days when life is overwhelming and things are even more critical than minor frustrations. Those days when you just cannot pick yourself up, keep it together, make it work. Those days when life feels the bleakest.

On those days (and every day), find one minute, two minutes or maybe even five minutes of joy that you can freeze-frame and then live vicariously within, in spite of the Craziness that you know is what typifies your life. IN SPITE OF ALL THIS. Find joy even if things are falling apart. Especially if that is what is happening to you.

In spite of everything else going wrong in life, no matter how minor or major those wrongs might seem to be, find a slice of joy in your day and share it with someone. Write it down. Speak it out loud. Mark it as a kairos moment. Claim it as a slice of joy.

Here's my slice of joy from yesterday's mayhem. I went for TWO BLISSFUL WALKS. One, while I was trying to make my mind up as to what job to avoid doing (before the rink) and one WHILE THE TEENAGERS WERE CHARRING MY HAMBURGER.

Both walks/kairos moments/slices of joy, so worth it.

Even if in the case of the second example, ignorance was cause for bliss.

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