My Kairos Cross: What It Means To Me

Jake Sipes-Salter, Staff Writer

Kairos is one of the most integral parts of the Brebeuf Jesuit experience. From the first week I arrived, perhaps the most interesting thing I heard about was Kairos. The weeks leading up to the experience dragged, and the anticipation killed me. To this day, I can say that the experience was one of my best as a Brebeuf student.

The tangible things that you take away are few, and the most recognizable perhaps is the cross necklace. Now, for some of the retreatants, once they receive the necklace, it is worn infrequently and doesn’t mean a lot to them. For me, however, the necklace represents so much.

The Kairos cross represents first and foremost my Kairos experience and the lasting bonds I have formed with my classmates. By wearing the necklace every day, it means that I carry those relationships close to me and that I value those relationships greatly. In all essentiality, wearing the cross means carrying different things with me. It symbolizes positive experiences, such as lasting bonds with my friends, love for my retreat leaders, and the lessons I learned from having the experience. It represents the emotions that I feel every day and the impact that those emotions have on me and on those around me. It symbolizes the confidentiality of the retreat and how those stories that are shared are to be kept to myself and not to be shared with others.

Even the physical condition of the necklace symbolizes so much to me. Since I went almost 11 months ago, my necklace has been bent slightly, scratched, and has lost its initial shine. But that condition symbolizes a lot of what life is really about. When I realized it and thought about how beat up it is, it made me realize that the cross carries with me my whole life. Its battered nature represents those experiences that I have had in the past, including the positive experiences that have made me want to be a more positive, easygoing, and loving person. Additionally, these factors represent the negative experiences that I have had and how they have also left lasting impacts on my life, both good and bad. What makes the condition most special to me, however, is that the cross is still a cross. Similar to our lives, the necklace has gone through alterations from its original condition and is never going to be the same as it once was. But in the end, it still stands, with more things that make each specific cross special.

What ties the physical and intangible factors into the significance of the necklace is that it all symbolizes something greater than the necklace. On the surface, it’s a piece of pewter that was cut into the shape of a cross. What makes the cross special to me is that it symbolizes so much in my life. When I lose it or am not wearing it, I feel exposed, like some part of me is missing. With the necklace on, I carry everything with me, and I carry it proudly. I feel safe, and I feel complete. The necklace is what you make it, and your life is what you make it. Live your life the way you want to live it, learn everything you can from your experiences, and don’t be ashamed of who you are. There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.