Letters to Children
Living in the Present I
The nineteenth-century Scottish fantasy writer, George MacDonald, lived in intense poverty. He wrote fairy tales in order to eke out a living for his family. Yet he had a peaceful mind. Said C.S. Lewis about him: “His peace of mind came not from building on the future but from resting in what he called ‘the Holy Present’.”
The Holy Present is a mode of living in which you don’t about the past or the future. You think about the job at hand, or the priest’s words, or an old tree that you see in a park. You think about the game you’re playing with your children, or the conversation you’re having with your friend, or the consultation you’re having with your customer or client. Or you might just think about God. You don’t think about the time that such activities are taking and how you may not have enough time later to get other things done. You also should not think about things that have happened in the past that have no bearing on the present moment.
You should strive to live in the Holy Present because, quite simply, it’s how we’re meant to live. We have no power over the past and precious little control over the future. Here’s how C.S. Lewis described it in The Screwtape Letters: God wants men to attend chiefly to two things: “to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience which … Read the rest