Chronos Kairos and the Cottage.

Chronos Kairos and the Cottage.


Growing up in Northern Ontario, and working in Sudbury for many years, and now Kingston, I know a great number of people who have their own private heaven.  They call this heaven by different names – cottage, camp, cabin, etc. Of course there is work (heaven isn’t a place for lazy people) – fixing docks, clearing brush, cutting lawns, chopping wood, repairing screens – and there are some nuisances – mosquitoes, black flies, noisy boat neighbours, occasional bears, raccoons, mice, cold mornings etc. – but there is no denying that it is their private heaven :).  Just writing this post makes me smile because I can go there in my head 🙂 – calm lake…a sunset…a drink on the dock..a Sauna and jump in the lake….a rainy day with rain on the tin roof…

Yep, Heaven.  Ahhhhhh.

In my job, I always ask patients “What is most important to you, and what do you enjoy doing?”  Answers vary (I don’t keep a formal database) but often for importance: family, spouse, quality of life, religion, quantity of life, not being a burden.  Interestingly, I never (rarely) hear :my job, politics, the Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs, making money.  For ‘what do you enjoy doing?’, again “spending time with family, spending time with friends, travel, hunting, fishing, driving etc.

When I tease out the question a bit more – What does Quality of Life mean to you?  What quantity is important?  What do you mean ‘being a burden’?  – answers vary.  For some, quality means freedom from suffering – for others quality means ability to do everything fully independently, for others – quality means travel, cottaging, and “bucket listing”.  For Quantity, what is important and meaningful varies from person to person – it might be a few months, or some other preconceived time frame, or it might be ‘until a special day’ – a wedding, an anniversary, a granddaughters birth, Christmas, Summer Vacation etc.

The Greeks called these different concepts of time Chronos and Kairos – i.e. time measured by a unit such as days, weeks, months, years etc. is Chronos (and easy to measure).  Time as an experience is Kairos.  Going to the cottage, spending time on the lake, sitting under the stars on a summer night – these are Kairos.