Greek wisdom, one day at a time
Someone asked my age yesterday. The number – 51 – does not bother me in the slightest. It just feels odd to hear myself say it…and I often think, “How did THAT happen?!?”
Of course, the answer is rather simple. It happened one day at a time. Trite but true.
This is it; this is it. / This is life, the one you get, / so go and have a ball!
In the Greek language, there are two words for “time.” Chronos is time measured in hours and days. Chronos was also the Greek god thought to be the personification of time. Kairos means the right time, or the opportune time, or a moment when something special happens.
Big difference. We often obsess about chronos and completely miss kairos, don’t we? Ironically, chronos is completely out of our control…we can’t make more, can’t speed it up, slow it down, get it back, move it forward. Kairos is what we can grasp.
Perhaps we have become numb to the message: we have only have one life, each day is a gift…moving through our consciousness with little impact.
This is it. Do we get that? I love my life and am generally mindful of the preciousness of each day. But not always. Some nights come with the realization that I have not truly been present the entire day. “Being” was run over by the freight train called “doing.” “Being” – a smiling light, a helper, an encourager, a witness to my faith in Jesus Christ.
Final score for that day: chronos 1, kairos 0
This is it; this is it, / straight ahead, and rest assured, / you can’t be sure at all.
Am I alone in having too many days that are just a long “to-do” list?
BUT, you say, there are obligations, steps to take every day. Of course there are. Laundry, groceries, bills, kid taxi, cleaning, work…necessary to life. NOT life itself. Do we get that?
We strive to be in control of our job, money, relationships, time. We convince our kids they should follow the “good grades + good college = good job (and maybe good spouse)” plan and life will work out.
And we do them and ourselves a great disservice. Because in truth, there is very little of which we can be sure, and very little, outside our own hearts and heads, that we control.
Do you get that? Have you been there? Have you stood dumbfounded, frozen in place by sudden tragedy?
The doctor says “cancer,” a family member takes his own life, a job is lost, a marriage is shattered or the foundation of life is shaken in any of the numerous ways that can happen.
In a second. In the time it takes to turn your head. In those storms, no accomplishments or possessions will keep us afloat. Only loving relationships will carry us to safe shores.
Nothing in this life is certain. Do we get that? Are we prepared?
So, while you’re here, enjoy the view, keep on doing what you do. Hold on tight; we’ll muddle through
Christopher was 19 when his car rounded the last bend he would see on this earth. He is the oldest child and only son of my dear cousin/sister Kelly. “Utter devastation” is grossly insufficient to describe what this does to a mother and a family. Seven years have not lessened the pain. Nothing will.
So each day Kelly chooses. Chooses to get out of bed, go to work, to laugh when she can and reach out to the people who love her most when she can’t. Chooses to enjoy the flowers in the memorial garden she planted the following spring, chooses to be the same person we have always known, chooses to cling tightly to God in the moments when that person is punctured by the thorn in her heart.
Choosing is the essence of life, our great privilege and responsibility. Each day’s choices are a step in some direction – forward, back, laterally – we get to choose. Choosing has brought me here…choosing to embrace this life, choosing to value time rather than simply count it, choosing move ahead even in uncertainty, choosing to be present one meal, one golf game, one family gathering, one walk with my dog…all the way to my last breath… one day at a time…
51 is nothing to worry about.
I’m so glad I get it. Do you?
See you next time.
ps. My apologies to readers who know the song – it has been stuck in my head for days. Enjoy.