“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.”
T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/index.html) keeps reminding me of talk I heard last winter on time. According to the speaker, there are two kinds of time, chronos and kairos time. Chronos time is filled with the busy platitudes of planners, blackberries, and cell phones. Chronos time looks ahead and fails to see the now. Kairos time is a moment of grace, an experience of “now-time” when you live in the moment. For me this has occurred over a long conversation with a dear friend (of course accompanied by tea), dinner with my family, sailing with the wind in my hair, during prayer, and so many more moments. Glimpses into the sacred and semipiternal.
“In my beginning is my end.” I begin this new semester with a glance behind at the old trodden path and step out to the “unknown, remembered gate.” This past fall was difficult because of the many chaotic events transpiring within my life. “However, this steep and sometimes rocky road was softened by times of relaxation. And these resting moments were kairos time for me. Hanging out with friends, watching Korean chick-flicks, praying with my roomie Maya at 2:00 AM before finals, campus ministry, OJS, and so much more.
And now, as I begin my second semester at St. John’s, I make a new beginning and end. I begin a new season, while also treasuring autumn’s fallen leaves. I am trying to continually utter my own small fiat to life and kairos.
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one."