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.
â€śPandemicâ€ť 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, â€śThe Greeks had a word for it.â€ť 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 didnâ€™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 â€śthank youâ€ť 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.