Suddenly, in early 2020, a new word came crashing into our vocabularies, a word many of us had never uttered. Today, schoolchildren know it well.
“Pandemic” is from two Greek words: pan meaning all, and demic, from demos, the Greek word for people. So, we call a virus that affects the whole wide world a pandemic.
Most English words are rooted in old Greek or Latin words. Relevant to the 2020 pandemic, I introduce two Greek words.
Greek was a precise language, thus the saying, “The Greeks had a word for it.” The Greeks had two words for time. Chronos was linear, quantifiable time, measurable in seconds, hours, years, millennia. Think clock. Think calendar.
Kairos was extraordinary, quality, charged-with-possibilty time. Common events sometimes become opportune times for the sensitive and introspective to see things in a new, pregnant-with-significance, light. In kairos time, something of eternity breaks into straight-line, hum-drum chronos time and becomes 3-D time, opportunity-time to see new nuances in ordinary things.
In Greek mythology, Kairos, youngest son of Zeus, was the god of opportunity. The pandemic of 2020 affords us a kairos to re-think some things.
I now see how much facial recognition depends on seeing noses and lips. Many people I know well I could not recognize behind their mask.
The most influential things in our common life are invisible things, like the COVID-19 virus, or like faith, hope and love.
Love craves touch. We didn’t touch our six grandchildren for 14 months. Zooming and Facetime are good but hardly filling.
Survival, throughout history, goes to the adaptable.
We should say “thank you” every day we have life, health and toilet paper.
Are there things you see now with greater clarity and deeper meaning than you did pre-COVID-19?
Consider making a list for your progeny.