Last week, one of those Facebook Memories popped up in my feed. Sometimes, those memories are not worth repeating – a picture of a homemade muffin or some random moment. This time, it was my favorite picture of my youngest, Jaiya, when she was two.
When I see that picture, I want to go get my baby. The urge to find her, scoop her up and kiss those cheeks overwhelms me with a wave of mama-emotion. It takes me a few moments to realize that if I want to find that girl and scoop her up, I’d better do some strength training first. She’s not that size anymore! That’s when I snap back to reality.
Time is something we all talk about as parents. People love to say things like:
“Don’t blink, it’s over before you know it.”
“One minute they’re babies, the next minute they’re graduating from high school.”
“Don’t you wish you could stop time?”
No, I don’t wish I could stop time. I try to be present and enjoy each moment. Yes, even the tough ones.
Think for a few minutes about the difference between the way we keep and mark time, and the way God keeps and marks time. Our chronological time is nothing like God’s time, known as Kairos time. Sometimes, as my girls get older, time appears to elongate and expand, and other times it collapses and accelerates. That feels like Kairos time to me. So, I strive each day to be present in as many moments as I can, especially with my girls.
The number one benefit of staying in the present is that it allows more time for God’s ways to seep into your daily language. Let’s say a car accident on the highway makes us late. Instead of getting frustrated, we pray for the people in that accident. We pray for the firefighters, emergency workers and police officers called to the scene. God wouldn’t want us to make the situation about us, so we don’t.
Here’s how we stay present in our weekday routine:
1. Don’t rush. On the way home from school, we take our time.
2. Take the road less travelled. We drive home most days through Eden Park, one of Cincinnati’s most beautiful parks, and follow a lovely route home that takes us out of our way. Why? Because it’s more beautiful.
3. Be spontaneous. If something catches your eye, stop and check it out. You never know what adventure awaits you.
4. Plan an adventure. My girls love knowing we’ll do something after school, whether it’s fully planned or not. Even if it’s an orthodontist appointment!
5. Talk about the day. Get as much as you can! One of my daughters goes bell by bell with a brief report on each. The other volunteers the most exciting news of the day, so I have to ask her more questions to get to the more boring (read: important) news. Share what happened in your day with your children, as appropriate – this way, they don’t think adult lives are a mystery. (Remember Charlie Brown adults?)
Spending this time with my girls helps us to stay close. We offer each other advice, laugh, shake our heads, and talk out difficult situations. Following Jesus is often a part of our conversations. We pray for classmates, co-workers, friends and strangers as we walk through each day. My prayer is that these routines add a little Kairos time to our Chronos days.
How do you find Kairos time?